The roughly 30 protesters – representing some 10 organisations – proposed a Robin Hood tax, designed to address the economic injustices of the 2008 crisis.
Their initiative would impose a tax of .005%-.5% on financial transactions, which supporters say could raise anywhere between US$175 and US$350 billion a year in the United States for health, education and employment.
“They have to return what we lend them. We aren’t talking about a little park, or cleaning a building. We are talking about money for health, employment and education,” protester Sami Aldi, 60, told AFP. Aldi represented 170,000 members of the National Nurses United, a union for health care professionals.
Aldi explained that he’s seeing “a lack of nurses for the first time in his life,” while hundreds of billions are being spent on bailing out big banks.
The idea of a Robin Hood Tax was first conceived in 1972 by Nobel Prize winner James Tobin, which proposed a currency transaction tax as a means of addressing the volatility of international exchange rates.
The organisers of today’s rally claim that economists like Joseph Stiglitz and Jeffrey Sachs as well as business moguls like Bill
Gates and George Soros favour the initiative.
Similar legislation has been proposed in nine member nations of the European Union, including France, Germany and Spain.