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Entries tagged "Financial speculation tax"

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Tax Wall Street to Pay for Jobs

June 17, 2010 ·

Yesterday, the Senate rejected an urgently needed jobs bill that would reauthorize several expired necessary stimulus programs, including the extension of unemployment benefits. The bill failed 45-52, with 12 Democrats voting against it.

Senator Ben Nelson, one of the dozen Democrats, reasoned that, “I've said all along that we have to be able to pay for what we're spending…$77 billion or more of this is not paid for and that translates into deficit spending and adding to the debt, and the American people are right: We've got to stop doing that."

Senator Nelson is wrong. The country is not facing a debt crisis, but a jobs crisis. Ordinary people on Main Street are still suffering from the consequences of Wall Street’s reckless mismanagement of capital that led to our current economic crisis. Extending programs like Unemployment Insurance and providing more aid to local and state governments are necessary acts to stimulate our economy. Yet the 12 moderate Democratic Senators are unwilling to address our 9.7% unemployment rate and our weak job growth in the past few months because they are concerned about having too much debt.

If these Senators are serious about stimulating the economy in a budget neutral way, they should pass a Financial Speculation Tax (FST). An IPS report released today, Taxing the Wall Street Casino, illustrates that an FST is the best way of creating the necessary revenue, while also discouraging the irresponsible financial speculation that is common on Wall Street today.

According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, an FST, a small levy on all financial transactions (0.25% or less) would create about $177 billion in revenue per year. Not only would this tax stabilize our financial markets, but it would also provide more than enough revenue to support a robust jobs program and deal with other urgent needs.

Compared to other proposals on the table, an FST is the plan that would generate the most revenue:

FST chart

The Senate should be looking for ways to jumpstart our economy in a fiscally responsible manner. However, they shouldn’t be doing it at the expense of those who suffered the most from the crisis. A financial speculation tax is the solution to getting those who caused the crisis to pay for the damage that they have created.

Global Activists Coordinate Actions to Tax Speculators

May 20, 2010 ·

From Sydney, Australia to Vancouver, Canada, activists are taking to the streets in cities around the world this week to hold the financial sector accountable for the costs of the global crisis.  

A key demand:  tiny levies on trades of stock, derivatives and currency that could help curb speculation and generate big money for good things, like job creation and fighting poverty.  

K St protest. In Washington, DC, thousands rallied on May 17, calling for such a “financial speculation tax” – as part of a broader financial reform agenda. Organized by the AFL-CIO, SEIU, National People’s Action, and Jobs with Justice, the rally took place on K Street, the office building corridor notorious for its high concentration of corporate and financial industry lobbyists. Under a steady cold rain, protestors in plastic ponchos struggled to juggle umbrellas in one hand and soggy placards in the other.

K Street protestTheir determination reflected the high level of anger over Wall Street’s continued excesses at a time when ordinary working families are still suffering from the crisis.  Our video captures diverse perspectives on why financial speculation taxes are one piece of the solution.

 Since the pending financial reform bill does not include financial speculation taxes, this will be a key piece of “unfinished business” after Congress concludes the current debate on Wall Street regulation.  

In many of countries, coalitions have adopted Robin Hood imagery to emphasize how even miniscule levies on financial transactions could generate massive revenues for to fight poverty and other urgent needs. As you’ll see in the photos and videos below, this has kicked up good business for Robin Hood costume and horse rental businesses.  

United Kingdom  

Robin Hood Tax rally, LondonDressed as Robin Hood, campaigners on May 19 marched across the Westminster Bridge in London to deliver giant mosaics of pictures of more than 3,400 supporters to new members of Parliament, urging them to make a Robin Hood Tax one of their top legislative priorities. New Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is already a supporter. Let’s hope he can persuade his Conservative Party coalition partners. Activists in Scotland, carried out a similar action in Glasgow.

Germany  

Fired up by recent supportive statements from their government leaders, Berlin activists performed a stunt in front of the Brandenburger Tor on May 19, aimed at a meeting in the city of several G-20 heads of state and finance ministers.   In the video on their campaign site, Campaigners dressed as Robin Hood and merry people attacked a bankers’ carriage with big bags of money. An activist playing Robin Hood boarded the carriage and reloaded small bags of money out of the big ones and placed them into a bucket labelled Fight poverty, Finance development and protect the climate.    

Canada

Canada protest tug of war.The Canadian campaign carried out events on May 19 in major cities, including Toronto, Vancouver, Halifax, Saskatoon, Ottawa and St. John’s. In Ottawa, activists staged a tug-of-war in front of the Parliament building that pitted bankers against “the people” (plus one polar bear), with G-20 leaders looking on. The activist team carried signs suggesting how revenues from the tax could contribute to financing different issues, including maternal health initiatives. The Canadian coalition has a big challenge ahead, as conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper has vowed to block progress on bank taxation at the G-20 leaders summit, which he will be hosting in Toronto in June.

France

On May 18, a new coalition of labor, environmental, and development groups received widespread media coverage when they launched a petition to G-20 leaders, asking for support of financial speculation taxes. The petition is available in multiple languages (including English) and citizens of the world are invited to lend their endorsements. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been one of the most vocal supporters of the global campaign.

Australia  

 

The Australian coalition is planning a film/photo stunt with campaigners dressed as Robin Hood, shooting arrows at the campaign target in the Central Business District of Sydney today.   More photos from the DC rally and actions in other countries are being pooled on this flickr site: http://www.flickr.com/groups/1381757@N25/

From the Frontlines: May 11th, 2010

May 11, 2010 ·

Sen. Benigno "NoyNoy" Aquino won the Philippine elections with about 75 percent of the vote, despite a communist rebel skirmish in the Mindinao region. He vowed to tamp down corruption (although FPIF columnist Walden Bello wonders if that's the real cause of poverty).

On Democracy Now!, Glenn Greenwald and Jamin Raskin debate the progressive reaction to Elena Kagan.

The Louisiana Bucket Brigade is a comprehensive source for the latest citizen reports on what's happening in the Gulf, as a result of the BP oil spill. Oil is now washing up on the shores of the Mississippi Delta.  

As Daphne Wysham reports, this isn't the first time BP has hurt people in the Gulf—but thanks to lax regulation, they were hardly punished for it. Representatives from BP, Halliburton, and Transocean will appear before a Senate committee investigating the spill today.  

How can cultural boycott help the BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) movement against Israel? Cathy Gulkin of Point of View magazine explains (via IMEU).  

Two AlterNet reporters ask: Why do we let economically essential banks gamble with our money? Our own Sarah Anderson says that taxing financial speculation is key to halting the casino. OpenLeft has a great roundup of developments in financial reform.

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