WASHINGTON (PAI)–Saying it would raise money, curb speculators and force the financial finaglers who caused the Great Recession to partially pay for its impact on you and me, National Nurses United and the Congressional Progressive Caucus relaunched their drive for a financial transactions tax.
Caucus co-chair Keith Ellison, D-Minn., reintroduced the measure, HR1579, “The Inclusive Prosperity Act,”on April 4, the anniversary of the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Ellison said it would also be a step towards the economic equality King advocated.
HR1579 would impose a small tax on each transaction by a stockbroker, hedge fund, investment banker or other financiers. Economists estimate it would raise up to $350 billion.
“A lot of people in Washington like to talk about reducing the debt and deficits. Well, if you really care about reducing the deficit, how about asking Wall Street speculators to pay their fair share?” Ellison said. “We can make a more balanced and predictable market and help cover our nation’s expenses” for education, infrastructure and health care, he added. The revenue will also reduce the federal deficit, he said.
And HR1579 “will add a tax of a fraction of a percent on transactions made by the same Wall Street firms and stock traders who crashed our economy in 2008.”
Ellison, NNU and another speaker at the rally, William Lucy, the retired AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer who worked with King, all advocated “The Robin Hood Tax.” Ellison then turned the microphone over to NNU co-president Sandy Falwell, RN.
“America is our patient,” she said. “The Inclusive Prosperity Act is a vital step to funding programs Dr. King stood for. Registered nurses are on the front lines of this calamity as many of the patients we care for in hospitals around the country are coming to us with multiple illnesses aggravated by poverty and a delay in seeking care because they simply cannot afford it. They have to choose to eat or get health care.
“Too many people in this country are forced to choose whether to take medications or try to pay their rent, and in a country such as ours with such tremendous wealth, this is unconscionable,” Falwell declared.
“The Inclusive Prosperity Act really is a vehicle to continue the work of Martin Luther King Jr.,” said Lucy. King was murdered in 1968 while campaigning for oppressed Memphis, Tenn., sanitation workers, who wanted to unionize and get decent wages and working conditions. “The sanitation workers of Memphis wanted decency and dignity,” Lucy said. “Keith Ellison wants economic fairness. I applaud him.”
Photo: National Nurses United Robin Hood Tax Flickr page