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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Solutions: Public Banking And The Robin Hood Tax

Robin Hood Tax
Image borrowed from The Guardian

[Update 5/8: I missed the first two parts truthout.org posted last month, but Part III showed up today:



Alternet put up an article By Les Leopold a couple of days ago (The Rich Have Gained $5.6 Trillion in the 'Recovery,' While the Rest of Us Have Lost $669 Billion ) that, as can be gleaned by the title, should be a discomfiting indictment of the behavior of the wealth class in this country and elsewhere in the developed world.

There is plenty there to grumble and shake one's fist at, like the wealth class itself...
Their collective mindset is that the world can't function properly unless the richest of the rich get richer.
...you really don't need to understand much more than that. And what's good for Wall Street...
The Federal Reserve's ongoing stimulus policy comes down to this: ...reduce interest rates on bonds of all kinds so that money flows into stocks. The more money that goes into the stock market... leads to what economists call the wealth effect -- those who see their stocks rise dramatically feel richer and spend more...
...is not good for the rest of us...
That's supposed to trickle down to the rest of us: The rich spend more, businesses recover and then, maybe, hire more people... don't most of us own stocks either directly or through our pension funds and 401ks? Dream on...
...and thanks to the "patriotic" Tea-Party mentality (that's you and I - the "99%" - folks)...
Not only do they hate the government, but also, they hate the poor. Using the twisted logic of Ayn Rand, they see the world divided into winners and losers -- and screw the losers. Not only do they oppose social programs like Social Security and Medicare, they also don't believe that government should work on behalf of the collective good.
...we have public-sector layoffs during a period of high unemployment...
In a just world, Wall Street would have been taxed to make up the difference. Instead, public employment was slashed. This further cut back on consumer demand, reduced tax revenues and then created pressure for another round of government job cuts...
OK, enough - I can feel my blood pressure going up. Go read the whole thing, for your health.

What I really want to highlight here are a couple of very doable solutions that the article provides for our consideration. Public banking and the "Robin Hood" tax.

The Public Banking Institute is one place where the action is. Go to the site for a comprehensive list of the possibilities and benefits, but I just want to say, simply, that the functions that banking provide are more akin to a public utility than some manufacturing or otherwise productive business, and if we could provide this utility to ourselves without a class of greedheads taking the "skim" then the financial world would calm down quite a bit.

And, speaking of calming down, the gambling house that is Wall Street could use a lbit of fire-hosing itself, and that's what a "Robin Hood" tax could provide. Again, Robinhoodtax.org for all of the juicy details, and information on what you can do to help. Not only is this a fantastic idea for culling some public revenue*, but it would slow down the reactionary insta-trading that has been openly and cynically relegated to the heartless computer. Remember that fake Twitter last week that made "the machine that goes beep" falter? Wouldn't have happened if micro-trades weren't so cheap free.

So, start to beat that drum slowly. Public banking, Robin Hood tax... public banking, Robin Hood tax...

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*Don't want to go into it here, because it is complicated and I barely understand it myself, but tax collection in a fiat economy has more to do with regulating money supply than it does with "filling" government coffers. Remember, they print the money - they don't have to collect it in order to spend (see the wars Iraq and Afghanistan.) What they can do is a little economic social engineering, which a Robin Hood tax would accomplish splendidly.

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