From the TUC

Robin Hood goes global: US needs 11 million jobs

15 Mar 2010, by in Economics

In a transatlantic video-press conference this afternoon, AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka and European Socialists’ leader Poul Nyrup Rasmussen have emphasised the global demand for financial transactions taxes (FTTs). Trumka and Rasmussen put the call for FTTs in the context of wide-ranging financial reform.

But Trumka stressed the need for money to create jobs. FTTs would also raise over $100 billion in the US and would hardly touch small investors. He said that the US needs to find the money for – among other things – a major programme to create jobs. Without a financial speculation tax, a Robin Hood Tax or whatever, that programme couldn’t be delivered. “This is the first time that such a broad coalition has come together to seek financial reform in the interests of ordinary people.”

Rasmussen added: “it’s not about back to business as usual, it’s about sensible financial regulation. It was not because workers were lazy that we had a crisis, it was bankers’ greed. We need a financial transactions tax.”

Questioners asked whether it was possible to do this only in Europe or the US? Rasmussen said yes – the EU is the biggest economy in the world. If you want to earn money in Europe, then you have to pay the taxes. Trumka agreed, pointing to the Stamp Duty in the UK. “The fairest thing and what creates the best global economy for all of us is a global tax, but, sure, it can be done without global agreement.”

What transactions should be taxed? Rasmussen: “It should be universal – even at 0.005% it would still raise billions of euros.” Trumka added that small investors could be exempted or rebated, but it needed to start comprehensive. Rasmussen added: “the bankers levy is not an alternative to the FTT – it’s right, but for different things.”

Trumka returned to the jobs theme: “We’ve lost 9 million jobs in the US and we need 2 million more due to pop growth. There’s tremendous anger out there. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be holding hundreds of demonstrations outside branches of the 6 major banks: Wall Street should pay their fair share for the jobs they’ve destroyed.”

Talking about the Congressional elections this autumn, Trumka said: “voters in the fall will want to see the gridlock broken. Those that fight against the FTT will face a tough struggle in November.”

The press conference kicked off a conference on ‘Fighting for a Financial Transactions Tax’ run by Europeans for Financial Reform, and the GMB and Unite were represented as well as politicians, trade unionists from the rest of Europe, and NGOs. More on that later …