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Friday
Feb192010

Who's afraid of Robin Hood?

From the Avaaz team

Hundreds of billions of our money went on bail-outs -- but the banks are still unreformed, raking in billions in profit and bonuses while the public finances are gutted.

A new proposal -- a tiny “Robin Hood tax” on international bank speculation -- is gathering support across the spectrum, from economists to celebs. It could raise hundreds of billions in return for the NHS and schools, as well as helping to tackle poverty and protect the global environment.

But it’ll take a massive expression of public feeling to overcome bank opposition. And when an online vote was launched for us to have our say -- outrageously, a Goldman Sachs bank server was used to send in thousands of rigged votes within minutes!

Let’s show the banks we won’t stand for any more cheating -- click below to sign the Robin Hood petition, then forward this message to everyone to join the merry band:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/robin_hood/?vl

We’ll start by delivering our campaign to the heads of all the political parties in the UK after it reaches 100,000 supporters -- then we’ll take it to the international stage.

Public service cuts and a rise in VAT or other consumer taxes are all being considered to balance the budget. But these alternatives would make the British people pay the costs of the financial crisis and of bailing out the banks.

By contrast, the tiny “Robin Hood tax” targets international financiers and their most speculative activities -- socially useless according to UK Financial Services Authority head Adair Turner, who supports this initiative. It would be simple to implement, and having done so much damage, it's time for the financiers to pay their fair share of the bill for repairs.

The campaign has already been covered in the media, with a new video made by Love, Actually director Richard Curtis starring Bill Nighy as a banker whose criticisms of the tax are hilariously demolished. Hundreds of economists have come out in favour so far, including Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz -- other supporters include world-leading investor Warren Buffett, and even the Daily Mail seems to be keen!

The investment bank connected to the vote-rigging, Goldman Sachs is the crème de la crème of global finance. Tactics like these suggest that people there are seriously concerned about what the Robin Hood proposal could do to their record-breaking bonuses. Goldman Sachs are also famous for their undue political influence, exposed in recent articles by former IMF chief economist Simon Johnson.

Only a massive public outcry can face down the bankers’ lobby and get our leaders to back the Robin Hood tax -- let’s get to 100,000 signatures this week, sign now and spread the word to everyone:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/robin_hood/?vl

With hope and determination,

Paul, Iain, Alice, Ricken and the whole Avaaz team



Sources:

  1. “Goldman Sachs, Goldman Sachs, clicking in the votes?”, The Guardian:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/feb/11/goldman-sachs-tobin-tax
  2. Some more detail on the Robin Hood tax:
    http://robinhoodtax.org.uk/analysis/the-financial-transaction-tax-a-bit-more-detail/
  3. Support for these ideas has come from former World Bank chief economist Joseph Stiglitz:
    http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/markets/article-23804049-joseph-stiglitz-robin-hood-who-wants-to-tax-the-rich-for-the-poor.do
    from FSA chief Adair Turner:
    http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/2009/08/how-to-tame-global-finance/
    and in an open letter from 350 economists:
    http://robinhoodtax.org.uk/in-the-news/350-economists-call-for-a-financial-transaction-tax/
  4. On the influence of Goldman Sachs and the financial sector, see: “The Quiet Coup” by ex-IMF chief economist Simon Johnson, in The Atlantic http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200905/imf-advice
    and Matt Taibbi’s article in Rolling Stone:
    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/29127316/the_great_american_bubble_machine