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Activists in More than 20 Countries Urge G20 Leaders to Tax Speculators

February 16, 2011

IPS Global Economy and Climate Experts Available for Comment

 Washington, D.C. – Labor, environmental, and other groups from the United States and around the world are joining in a Global Day of Action on February 17 to call on G-20 finance ministers to take decisive action on financial transactions taxes. The ministers are meeting in Paris on February 18 and 19.

Also known as financial speculation taxes, these small levies on trades of stock, derivatives, currency, and other financial instruments would generate massive revenues for jobs and other pressing needs and discourage the short-term financial speculation that poses high risks to economic stability.

To coincide with the Global Day of Action, Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) will be introducing a bill that would create one form of financial speculation tax.  The Investing in Our Future Act of 2011 would put a levy on foreign currency transactions to generate revenue for U.S. deficit reduction and for global public goods like climate change programs.  Thirty-nine U.S. environmental, faith, labor, health, and other organizations signed a letter to President Obama endorsing the bill.

Activists in the United States and some 20 countries around the world will also meet with German and French ambassadors on the day of action to express support for these two governments’ bold leadership on the issue. French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have led the drive to put financial speculation taxes on the G-20 agenda. They are reportedly considering a “coalition of the willing” approach if they cannot achieve G-20 consensus.

Photos and images from the Global Day of Action will be available on this flickr page.

IPS Experts Available for Comment:

Sarah Anderson, IPS Global Economy Project Director
Contact:
sarah@ips-dc.org, 202 787 5227 (o), 202 299 4531 (c)

Anderson chairs regular international strategy calls on this issue and is the lead author of an IPS report on transactions taxes that garnered coverage in the New York Times. See her full bio here.

“We appreciate the European leadership on this critical issue,” Anderson says. “It’s looking more and more likely that several countries in that region will adopt financial speculation taxes, and once they begin generating significant revenue, U.S. policymakers may wonder why they’re missing out.”

Janet Redman, Co-Director of IPS’s Sustainable Energy and Economy Network
Contact:
janet@ips-dc.org, 508 340 0464 (c)

Redman is an expert on innovative financing for climate programs. See her full bio here.

As Redman wrote in a recent HuffingtonPost commentary, co-authored with Paul R. Epstein, associate director of the Harvard Center for Health and the Global Environment, “A tax on financial speculation could be the first of many innovative mechanisms to link the economy with the environment and help build a healthier, more stable, and more secure future.”

Institute for Policy Studies (IPS-DC.org) is a community of public scholars and organizers linking peace, justice, and the environment in the U.S. and globally. We work with social movements to promote true democracy and challenge concentrated wealth, corporate influence, and military power.