New York – In a prelude to tomorrow’s global day of action for the Wall Street Financial Speculation Tax, a Merry Band of Robin Hoods and activists from Occupy Wall Street marched to demand that the 1% pay the 99% back for taking our homes, jobs and money. The group called for the implementation of a Financial Speculation Tax and the extension of New York State Millionaire’s Tax.
Since the march, bills have been introduced in the U.S. House and Senate to adopt a Financial Speculation Tax. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) introduced the Wall Street Trading and Speculators Tax Act, which would levy a tax of .03 percent on financial transactions. The small tax, much less than one percent, would discourage the volume of speculation from traders who move too rapidly but would not hurt long-term investors, who would barely notice it. The tax could raise up to $50 billion dollars per year in new revenue.
“I wake up every morning and worry that I’ll lose my housing or healthcare, while Wall Street bankers get more bonuses and more tax breaks,” said Bobby Tolbert, a Board member and leader of VOCAL-NY from the Bronx. “I’m sick of reverse-Robin Hood budgets that take from poor and working families and give to the rich. We found the money to create jobs for people like my kids and protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid for older folks and people with disabilities like me – it’s down on Wall Street. It’s time to take our money back, he added.”
The Robin Hood march snaked through the Wall Street financial district, stopping at One Chase Plaza to deliver a message to JPMorgan Chase’s CEO Jamie Dimon. The Robin Hoods demanded that Dimon support the global, national and state financial speculation taxes as one step toward paying the 99% back for bailing out his bank after they helped tank the global economy as a top player in the subprime mortgage and securitization market. The second stop on the tour took the Merry Band to the New York Stock Exchange and the epicenter of Wall Street financial transactions. Joseph Ferdinand from the Northwest Bronx Community & Clergy Coalition said, “I’m angry because Wall Street and Big Banks have been stealing from me and the American people for the last thirty years with no consequences. I want them to return all they have stolen and consider the families that are suffering, people without homes, student who can’t pay back their loans while they are living like Kings and Queens.
The march finished up at the most visceral symbol of Wall Street – the Charging Bull – with the final speakers reiterating why growing economic inequality is bad for America. “We’re out here today because the time has come for the Financial Speculation Tax to be implemented…it’s a necessity! The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer,” said Ketny Jean-Francois, Board Co-Chair, Community Voices Heard. “The gap between the rich and the poor is so great that we’re becoming like a Third World Country. Money should be reinvested back into healthcare, education, and social programs so everyone can have a decent life. We need to get back to a country of hope and promise where we can still hope to achieve the American Dream,” she added.
Video from the action:
Today’s action were organized by VOCAL-NY, Community Voices Heard, and Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition – Affiliates of National People’s Action (NPA) and The New Bottom Line campaign which includes National People’s Action (NPA), PICO National Network, Alliance for a Just Society, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), and Industrial Areas Foundation of the Southeast (IAF-SE) and dozens of state and local organizations from around the country.