It’s not like there are no solutions to our economic woes. The “Buffett Rule,” a tax hike on the nation’s wealthiest citizens that would raise $162 billion over the next ten years, seemed like a perfectly plausible, albeit partial, solution. With the Senate bought off by many of those same wealthy citizens, the Rule went nowhere. Except down. Come to think of it, most of the Senate members (67%) are millionaires, so why would they vote to raise taxes on themselves?
Another idea that appears to make sense, is the so-called “Robin Hood Tax.” I learned of it while watching a Bill Moyers interview with RoseAnn DeMoro, the Executive Director of National Nurses United, representing 170,000 registered nurses.
DeMoro, and her nurses, are pushing for a sales tax on Wall Street speculation called the “Robin Hood Tax.” Robin Hood, of course, was a legendary English bandit who stole from the rich and gave to the poor. DeMoro, says the wall streeters can easily afford the tax which would raise up to $350 billion a year. Gee, that’s $700 billion in two years and $1.5 trillion in three. Is that right? Golly, that’s a lot of zeros. That would help, wouldn’t it? Ms. DeMoro and her colleagues will be among those demonstrating in Chicago on May 18th, which was to be the opening day of the G8 summit, before President Obama, decided to move it to Camp David, far away from the prying eyes of protesters. Maybe he’s smart enough to know that he’d better not mess with the nurses? You can get away with a lot in this country, but don’t mess with our nurses. Or our moms. However, it appears the demonstration will move forward with or without the G8 in town. Chicago will also play host to a two-day NATO summit, beginning May 20th, so it isn’t as though there won’t be any political fish to fry. Six of the G8 countries will be represented at the NATO event which is considerably larger than the G8 meeting.
Let’s see, $162 billion from Buffett over ten years and another $350 billion a year from Mr. Hood. It might be enough to get us to stop pretending that a significant number of the millions of jobs that were off-shored will be coming back anytime soon and to start some badly needed public works projects, putting Americans back to work rebuilding crumbling roads and bridges. Some of the money might even be used to provide basic health care to 50 million Americans who remain uninsured and to keep school lunch programs going for kids from a growing number of economically disadvantaged families.
Here in California, 93,000 people were just dropped from receiving extended unemployment insurance, because, in the eyes of the Federal Government, the sate is doing so well. That’s 93,000 losing their unemployment on top of the 664,649 Californians whose insurance had already run out. But it gets even better. And by that, I mean worse. Governor Jerry Brown, just announced a $16 billion shortfall. Among other austerity measures, he want’s to cut health and welfare programs while furloughing state workers. The unemployment rate here in Los Angeles is above 13%. In the San Joaquin Valley and Fresno areas it’s something above 16%. And Jerry Brown wants to furlough state workers while the feds cut unemployment insurance?
It’s not like there aren’t solutions to our economic woes, if you can go so far in your thinking as to understand that we can’t get what we need from those who have nothing to contribute. It’s not surprising that American nurses, our real-life angels of mercy, are showing us the way.