NNU: "To reduce inequality we need Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street"

National Nurses United today welcomed President Obama’s call to reduce income inequality in the U.S. through new taxes on financial institutions and the wealthiest Americans as a “fresh start,” but called on the White House and Congress to go farther and adopt a robust tax on Wall Street speculation to raise the “real revenue needed to repair the U.S. economy and meet the human needs still neglected by the Wall Street-created economic crash.

NNU also reiterated its strong endorsement of the President’s community college initiative as a “big step forward to expand and improve nursing education opportunities for an entire new generation of registered nurses” and praised his proposals for expanded child care, paid sick and maternity leave, and an increase in the minimum wage. “Congress has an opportunity to move beyond rhetoric to these common sense proposals that would help all working people,” said NNU Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro.

On tax policy, DeMoro said President Obama’s State of the Union proposals to set a fee on the liabilities of the largest financial institutions is a “good step in the right direction and welcomed the call for raising the capital gains and dividend tax rates.

“Those who have reaped the benefits of the wholesale shift in wealth from working people to the 1 percent as a result of decades of misguided national priorities should contribute far more to the revitalization of our nation,” said DeMoro.

But the primary obligation, she said, “should fall on the banks, investment firms, and other Wall Street speculators whose reckless gambling with people’s homes and retirement savings ruined so many families and communities.

The best step for tax justice and economic equity, DeMoro said, is a tax on Wall Street speculation. NNU, along with some 150 organizations across the U.S., supports a Robin Hood tax, as embodied in the Inclusive Prosperity Act, introduced by Rep. Keith Ellison, which through a small fee on trading of stocks, bonds, derivatives would raise up to $300 billion every year.

“That’s revenue that would transform our nation overnight, with real support for living wage jobs, fighting the ravages of the climate crisis, eradicating HIV/AIDS and student debt, and fulfilling the dream of quality healthcare for all,” DeMoro said.

“Even with the economic improvements of recent months, there continues to be too many households affected by the 2008 crash created by Wall Street,” said DeMoro. “Nurses continue to see the effects every day with families who have to choose between paying for needed care or other basic necessities for their families.”

“If a barber can pay a small tax for a loaf of bread or a pair of shoes, “ DeMoro said, “surely a banker can pay a barely noticeable tax on a Wall Street bet.”

“We urge both the White House and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill to deepen their efforts to create a more just economy and tax code, that will ultimately help rebuild an economy and a country that works for all Americans.”

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