I just have to wonder how many folks actually have heard about the ‘Robin Hood Tax’ ? – (RHT) and more importantly have taken the time to find out what it is? where it comes from? what is actually involved? Let me tell you right now it involves HUNDRED’S of BILLIONS OF DOLLARS, and of course, should it come to pass, just who will administer it?
Ostensibly the RHT will take a teeny tiny bit of money from banks and financial institutions all over the world – who admittedly do have heaps of funds to play with, and will use this money to help Nations in need, who are suffering from the backlash of the World Financial Crisis, Food shortages and the devastating effects of Man Made Climate Change. (AGW) Oh I forgot AGW is only a THEORY, it is still unproven remember! But somehow we will still have to pay towards the devastation caused by AGW.
No part of the proposed RHT will ever be levied on YOU & I – the consumer of course, it will all just be a tax on the financial institutions. GULP, I find that hard to swallow!
That folks is a laymans over simplification of what is contained in this proposal – a tax to be taken from Bankers and Speculators and given to the poor……..
In the UK and in Australia it is being called the Robin Hood Tax. In Germany, it’s the Tax Against Poverty. And in the US it’s the financial speculation tax. But in all those countries – and many more – popular campaigns are building support for a financial transactions tax to raise money for public services, combating poverty and tackling climate change. Existing groups like Americans for Financial Reform and Europeans for Financial Reform (the latter set up by the ETUC and the Party of European Socialists) are also backing these.
I expect Christians would call it the ‘Judas Tax’ – think about it!
OWEN in Africa (see reference at end of Blog) has these thoughts on what this could mean to you and I, should this come into being.
The Robin Hood tax appears at first sight to be a way to kill three fairly succulent birds with one stone. It offers an attractive combination of:
Higher taxes on the wealthy, so reducing inequality.
A curb on speculation and financial market excesses.
More money for global public goods and aid.
All these are worthy objectives, but Robin Hood tax is not a good way to achieve any of them.
Branding a financial transaction tax as a “Robin Hood tax” which takes from the rich and gives to the poor is a brilliant piece of communications. (Imagine if it had been called a “Class War tax” – this says more or less the same thing but somehow seems less appealing.) A Robin Hood tax lures many people who care about social justice, and want to spend more on international development, into opportunistically supporting the introduction of a tax on financial market transactions. But before we are seduced we should take a hard look at whether it will achieve what we want.
Stand and Deliver!
The campaign would like us to believe that this tax will be paid by speculators. That isn’t true, of course. It is like thinking that beer duty is paid personally by the barman in the pub, or that Richard Branson personally forks out for your airline passenger duty.
The people on whom a tax is levied generally pass it on to someone else: their customers, employees, suppliers or shareholders. We don’t know who will end up bearing a financial transactions tax, but it is likely to be all of us who meet the costs, as customers of firms that use financial markets, or savers whose money is invested in financial assets. You should not assume that it will mean less champagne for people who work in the City: they may be in-bred aristocrats but they are probably smart enough to figure out quite quickly that they should pass on the cost to someone else.
If we want to tax the rich more, there are much more effective ways to do it than to tax financial transactions – ways which might actually fall on the rich, and catch a much bigger spread of rich people than a transactions tax.
There are more financial examples in Owen’s article, suffice to say he suggests other means of raising money from the richer members of society – to give to the poorer ones.
My musings and ponderings come from a very different angle.
Firstly IF this scheme were to go ahead, and no one is going to deny that it seems equitable and fair – to redistribute some of our wealth to those in deepest need, who would handle all the funds raised – JUDAS?
I have hairs on the back of my neck doing the quick-step thinking that this seems just another way for (say) the International Monetary Fund to gain more power. Be it the IMF, the UN, or any other organisation with power hungry criteria – I see this as dangerous.
How much of the money raised would actually end up in the coffers of those countries most needing it? What happened to all that money raised for the starving millions in Ethiopia?
Much of the 250 million dollars donated, through Live Aid, to help save lives during the internationally-publicised 1984 Ethiopian famine were systematically stolen by those who are running the country today who used the money to buy weapons.
If each country were collecting its own RHT, by some newly set up Government Bureaucracy, how much would be ‘eaten up‘ in operating costs by said bureacracy – 20% – 50%. Now the remaining 50 – 80% is sent to some other United Nations or IMF committe, with its own operating costs of 20 – 50%, not much will end up in the hands of those countries that could have benefitted from the help!
This is another power grabbing scheme, put into pretty words, with well intentioned folks who do not truly understand the agenda, supporting it in the public arena.
Watch out people because big guilt trips are being laid upon us. Climategate is NOT DEAD. They might be truly struggling at Bonn currently, and in Mexico later this year. Remember that The Kyoto Agreement runs out in 2012, and they will do all in their power to reinforce their control before this happens. Don’t be misled.
Learn as much as you can, and remember to laugh when they Proclaim Robin Hood robbed from the rich to give to the poor, whilst singing:
We’re men, we’re men in tights.
We roam around the forest looking for fights.
We’re men, we’re men in tights.
We rob from the rich and give to the poor, that’s right!
We may look like sissies,
but watch what you say
or else we’ll put out your lights!
We’re men, we’re men in tights,
Always on guard defending the people’s rights.