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Dozens of nurses and activists turned out at noon today outside the office of JP Morgan in Boston for a rally, as part of a nationwide effort to call for a Robin Hood Tax in the U.S. Participating in the event were members of the Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United, the Maine State Nurses Association, Jobs With Justice of Massachusetts, Health Gap, Act Up Boston, United for a Free Economy, Verizon/IBEW Local 2222, and the AIDs Action Coalition.
The events were timed to coincide with another day of questioning by Congress of JP Morgan Chase’s CEO, Jamie Dimon about his bank’s massive trading loss and about the frenzy of speculative trading. The Robin Hood Tax is a small sales tax, less than half of 1% -- or 50 cents per $100 on trading in stocks, and even smaller assessments on bonds, derivatives and currencies, that could raise billions of dollars in the U.S.
“Wall Street’s reckless speculation and risky deals caused our economy’s most devastating crash since the Great Depression, forcing millions of Americans to lose their jobs, their homes, and their pensions,” said Paula Ryan, RN a member of the MNA Board of Directors and a staff nurse at Quincy Medical Center who spoke at the Boston event. “Three years later, Americans on Main Street still struggle to recover from a crisis we didn’t create. This is the way to start to turn it around.”
Mark Ruffalo, star of the current movie “The Avengers,” releases a video on today calling on Americans to join the campaign. He was joined in the video by Chris Martin and Tom Morello.
The Robin Hood Tax is aimed at high-volume trading, which today makes up a majority of all trades. Experts say it will help place limits on the reckless short-term speculation that threatens financial stability — as with JPMorgan Chase’s losing bet of $3 billion recently. A Robin Hood Tax would also assist in curtailing speculation in essentials, such as food and fuel.
“In cities and towns across the country and around the globe, people are hurting,” said Matt Kavanaugh of Health GAP. “Millions have been pushed into poverty, our social safety net has been shredded, and the winnable fights to end AIDS, food insecurity, and environmental destruction lack the resources to succeed. By adopting the Robin Hood Tax in America, we could go a long way towards solving our nation’s, and our planet’s, most pressing concerns.”
Over 1,000 leading economists have endorsed the policy behind the Robin Hood Tax, including Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz and Lawrence Mishel of the Economic Policy Institute. Some type of Robin Hood Tax is already in place in more than 40 countries.