Robin Hood Tax: is there ever a wrong time to do the right thing?
Philip Inman writes on the Guardian economics blog that now might not be the right time for a Robin Hood Tax. Although it would be a good thing. And the money would be very good for the global poor. But, he suggests, there’s just too much going on in the politics of the finance sector. Later, maybe…. Here’s why Philip’s wrong.
First, it’s simply untrue that there is too much going on – there’s nowhere near enough, given how seriously the finance sector is broken. It needs major surgery, but so far all that has happened has been tinkering, and not only hasn’t it repaired the system, it hasn’t even bothered it. Profits and bonuses are back with a vengeance, and there is no indication that the people at the top of the system – the ones who used to be known as ‘Masters of the Universe’, and clearly still think of themselves that way – have learnt anything from the three years of devastation which they have imposed on others without anything other than a minor blip on their high rolling lifestyle and working practices.
Second, one of the reasons why the system is so badly broken is that when it was delivering high tax revenues, easy borrowing, and jobs, it was untouchable for fear of killing the golden goose. So if it’s also impossible to touch it when it’s limping badly, grossly unpopular and because of the continued bailouts, vulnerable, then there never will be a good time to do what needs doing.
If the financial sector is actually too weak at the moment to stand an FTT, it can be set low (that’s the EU’s plan anyway, until we see how it works) or even suspended. But it has taken huge efforts to even get it on the political agenda, and if we don’t implement it soon, the momentum of that campaign will be lost.
So just do it.