By Martin Xavi Macias for Truthout - Advocates of the "Robin Hood Tax" shut down Chicago's financial sector on Monday, demanding a financial transaction levy they say could generate an estimated $10 - $12 billion in annual revenue for a state currently facing a $5 billion deficit. Forty-one people were arrested after they blocked the entrances to the Chicago Board of Trade building, chanting, "What is America going to be? Corporate greed or democracy?" Illinois is entering its fifth month without a budget. Gov. Bruce Rauner is refusing to sign any budget passed by Democrats, who hold a super majority, until his pro-business, anti-union "structural reforms" are included.
Tax Wall Street
A speculation tax is highly progressive, has huge revenue potential, and could curb Wall Street recklessness. It’s nothing new for Wall Street to work every possible angle so it can squeeze additional profits out of trades. It’s the job of lawmakers and regulators to make sure that Wall Street does not rip off investors or endanger the financial system’s stability. Perhaps you’ve heard about high-frequency trading (HFT), one of the ways traders have been gaming the system. This gimmick is finally getting much-deserved attention from regulators, the public and the media. The next step is getting Congress to pay attention. Newly spotlighted by Michael Lewis’ book, Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, high-speed computerized trading has made a mockery of the notion of “investing” in the economy. Investors may hold an asset for far less than a second when they engage in high-frequency trading. This dizzyingly fast trading devoid of human intervention sows systemic fragility. A glitch in the lightning-quick computer trades caused the Flash Crash of 2010, when the stock market plunged about 10 percent in a matter of minutes.
The Robin Hood tax, a small tax of less than ½ of 1% on Wall Street transactions can generate hundreds of billions of dollars each year in the US alone. It is an idea whose impact can be felt globally as well.