His credentials are impeccable. His name, after all, is on the Robin Hood Tax, a sales tax on Wall Street speculative trading—in stocks, bonds, derivatives and currency, a measure that would bring an estimated $350 billion a year to the Treasury. It was with this tax in mind, and a resume in hand, that Robin Hood made his way yesterday to the Department of the Treasury, at 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C The Treasury's top post is currently held by Timothy Geithner, who is departing-- leaving behind an economy defined more than anything by its growing inequality.
Robin Hood Tax funds are absolutely essential to help Main Street heal. Robin is talking about new tax revenue to create jobs with living wages, quality education and healthcare for all, a clean environment, rebuilding infrastructure, retirement with dignity, and contributions to international efforts to treat HIV/AIDS and address climate change.
Wall Street can certainly afford the sales tax, Robin knows, seeing trading bonuses this year top $100 billion. He also knows that we cannot afford to let our communities continue to unravel. For millions of Americans hardship has been unrelenting since the financial collapse in 2008.
Blocked from entering the Treasury HQ, barred from submitting his resume, Robin spoke outside, well aware that the Grinch had turned up.
Robin Hood faces off with the Grinch in bid for Secretary of U.S. Treasury. (see & share photos)
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"If I am appointed it will mean that Wall Street didn't win the election," said Robin. "We need a real recovery in our communities, in the places still suffering after the financial collapse of 2008." Wall Street has paid out more than ten times in bonuses than fines for misdeeds that collapsed the economy, Robin noted. The Grinch beamed with pride at that appalling fact.
Undeterred, Robin moved to the White House next, where security kept him at bay. Finally, Robin went to the Office of Personnel Management to pursue the process of applying for a job he knew was right for him.
Robin has tremendous support for the job. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) has authored a bill, The Inclusive Prosperity Act HR-6411, which now has the backing of 167 Members of Congress. It is the embodiment of the Robin Hood Tax: a sales tax of 50 cents per $100 in stock trades, lower rates for bonds, derivatives and currency dealings. Under Ellison's new legislation, individuals with income under $50,000 a year would be exempt, $75,000 per household.
In reality, as Robin explained, the Robin Hood Tax is aimed at a handful of very large financial institutions engaged in speculative, high-speed trading, which now makes up a majority of market activity. Not only would a sales tax raise much-needed revenue, it would help reduce volatility, the blow-ups in the markets that occur every few months. It would, as well, begin to limit speculation in food and fuel, where price spikes have been linked to trading.
In a letter to President Obama yesterday, the Robin Hood Tax Campaign asked for his support. The letter provided, in part: "[W]e urge you to nominate a candidate for Secretary of Treasury who will (1) champion a financial transaction tax and (2) dedicate the revenue raised to fund public services that keep people and the planet healthy and whole, at home and around the world."
More than sixty endorsers of the Robin Hood Tax Campaign signed that letter to the President. They include National Nurses United, Utilities Workers Union of America, Health GAP, Progressive Democrats of America, National Organization of Women, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Water Aid America, Public Citizen, National People's Action Catholics United, Center for Community, Democracy and Ecology (CCDE). Communications Workers of America, Alliance for a Just Society, Main Street Alliance and Consumer Watchdog.
The Robin Hood Tax Campaign is comprised of unions, consumer and environmental groups, religious associations, health activists and others, with a combined membership in the millions. A sales tax on financial transactions is in place in more than 40 countries.
That's quite a resume. He's inspired a tax that will spark a real recovery. He has millions of references.
Robin Hood for Treasury Secretary!