Robin Hood Comes to SF Today; First Stop: JPMorgan Chase

by Chuck Idelson on June 19, 2012

Dozens of national organizations; celebrities including Mark Ruffalo, Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello, and Coldplay’s Chris Martin; renowned economists including Jeffrey Sachs; and former JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs executives and global leaders such as Desmond Tutu have joined together in an unprecedented coalition, calling for a “Robin Hood Tax” on Wall Street.

On Tuesday, June 19, in 15 cities across the country, including New York City, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Los Angeles, America’s biggest nurses union, National Nurses United, along with hundreds of students, climate and AIDS activists, and faith leaders are taking to the streets in rallies outside JP Morgan and other financial institutions in support of the Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street transactions.

The activists will don Robin Hood hats to protest Wall Street excess and call for a Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street speculation. At fifty cents per $100 of most trades, up to $350 billion could be raised each year for healthcare, jobs, education, and other basic needs.

What: Robin Hood Protest Comes to SF- First Stop JPMorgan Chase!
Where JP Morgan Chase Building, 560 Mission St., San Francisco CA
When Noon-1:00 p.m.

“By placing a tiny tax on Wall Street – less than half of 1 percent – we could generate hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue. That’s money that could go towards investing in jobs, healthcare, housing, and our schools; to end the student debt crisis and the AIDS pandemic; and to halt climate change and poverty,” said Matthew Kavanagh of Health GAP (Global Access Project).

Today, actor Mark Ruffalo, star of the current movie “The Avengers,” released a video calling on Americans to join the campaign. He was joined in the video by Coldplay’s Chris Martin and Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello. The video features Ruffalo drawing a Robin Hood mask on a dollar bill and calling on others to do the same.

“Wall Street and the big banks are exploiting tax loopholes while generating record profits and being rewarded with billions in bailouts and bonuses. Most of the recovery thus far has benefited the top 1 percent, not the 99 percent. It’s time for Wall Street to give back what it has taken from our country,” said Jean Ross, RN and co-president, National Nurses United. “The Robin Hood Tax is easy to enforce, tough to evade and won’t touch the bank accounts, pensions, or savings of the vast majority of the American people.”

“The Robin Hood Tax is a tiny tax with a big ambition – to get us back on our feet through nothing more complicated than asking Wall Street to pay its fair share,” said Leigh Blake of Act V, an AIDS advocacy group.

Economists estimate that we could generate hundreds of billions of dollars annually by placing a small tax of 50 cents on every $100 of trades in stocks, and even less on bonds, derivatives, and currencies. Experts also suggest that such a policy would help limit the reckless short-term speculation that threatens financial stability. More than 1,000 leading economists have endorsed the policy, including Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs, and Lawrence Mishel of the Economic Policy Institute.

As the Robin Hood Tax Campaign launched, members of Congress were expected to question JP Morgan Chief Executive Jamie Dimon, whose trading loss of more than $2 billion caused many to underscore the need for new regulation and taxation of the financial sector to prevent future incidents.

“The Robin Hood Tax will not just begin to bring basic tax fairness to Wall Street, it will help curb the destructive gambling that drove the crisis and, as we see so clearly at JPMorgan Chase, continues to threaten our economic stability and security,” said Liz Ryan Murray, policy director of National People’s Action.

From 1914 until 1966, the United States enforced a Robin Hood tax that raised revenue from every sale or transfer of stock. The tax benefited average Americans and helped grow the middle class. Forty countries have employed this practice – and the policy is expected to be adopted in Europe this year.

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