LaborTalk for November 8, 2011

'Robin Hood' Tax on Business Deals Could Provide
Millions of Jobs for the Unemployed over 10 Years

By Harry Kelber

A Financial Transactions Tax (FTT) bill has been introduced in Congress that could raise hundreds of billions of dollars to create millions of jobs over a 10-year period.

Sponsored by Sen. Tom Harkin (Dem.-I) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (Dem.-(OR), the financial transaction tax would be at the rate of 0.03%, possibly less, a hardly noticeable percentage that could help create jobs and public services.

The AFL-CIO will be pushing the transaction bill in Cannes, France, where world leaders from 20 countries (G-20) will be meeting to deal with the global economic crisis. Demonstrations are also planned for Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

More than 1,500 registered nurses from across the U.S. joined by the AFL-CIO, "Occupy Wall Street" and other labor and community participants, are expected to rally in front of the White House and march on the U.S. Treasury Department on Nov. 3. Nurses from four continents, including a delegation from NMU, planned to demonstrate at the opening of the G-20 Summit in support of the financial tax.

FTT is essentially a sales tax on trades of stocks and bonds, derivatives and other financial transactions, mainly targeting the big the big banks and investment firms, whose reckless activities caused the current economic crisis.

Obama Says U.S. Won't Join Europe on Global Tax Plan

The leaders of Germany and France raised the idea of a financial transaction tax in their meeting with President Barack Obama on Nov. 3 at the G-20 Summit. They were told the U.S. is against the proposed plan.

And even some European nations — such as the U.K. and Sweden — say it won't work unless it is adopted globally because business activity would move to regions that do not assess the tax.

Since no agreement was reached, the consensus was that each country work out the financial tax problem in whatever way it thinks is most effective for it.

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Labor and its allies must continue to press hard for a financial transaction tax by overcoming opposition within Congress and from Timothy Geitner, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury and a long-time mouthpiece for Wall Street.

The United States needs a revenue-raising financial tax to provide funding for a massive jobs program. If Obama rejects the Harkin- DeFazio tax plan, what does he propose in its place?

LaborTalk will be posted here on November 11, 2011 and on our two web sites www.laboreducator.org and on www.laborsvoiceforchange.org.

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