Progress is not an illusion, it happens, but it is slow and invariably disappointing.
—George Orwell

I got this email from Oxfam pushing for support of what they’re calling the Robin Hood Tax. They describe it this way:

Every so often, we get the chance to be part of something huge.

We have that chance right now, and it’s called The Robin Hood Tax. A tiny fee on financial transactions [0.05% per transaction]—paid by banks, not by people—it would raise [supposedly 650] billions of dollars [per year] for fighting poverty and climate change at home and around the world.

Ideas like this often feel like they will never get any traction outside of progressive circles, but that’s not the case with the Robin Hood Tax. Across the globe, world leaders from Angela Merkel to Nicolas Sarkozy, Barack Obama to Gordon Brown… they are all promoting fiscal reform.

The movement seems to be gathering interests everywhere but in the Canadian government. Our finance minister, Jim Flaherty, evidently, along with Prime Minister Harper, think that our banks have already applied sufficient austerities—which is why our banks, he says, were least affected in the recent financial crisis.

True or not, I don’t know, but it is curious that these conservatives are applauding regulations. Catch as catch can, I guess.

And of course $650 billion extra a year taken from the financial sector sounds great, right? Well, I could be wrong, often am, but here’s my intuitive problem with it. Although this tiny tax on all financial transactions would say, ‘Hey, you greedy bastards, give something back,’ does it not also give, in short, tacit approval for the financial sector’s workings AS THEY ARE, as long as “they” offer back a pittance? It says, by taking the transaction fee, ‘Keep on doing exactly what you’re doing, and give us a micro-crumb of your scraps, and we’ll call it even.’

This seems to be a huge mistake. It seems, according to many, that the process of a certain aspect of the so-called financial sector helps to destroy, or it least diminish, the potential and wealth of the so-called real economy (real value) through “welfare economics”: all the Big State/Big Business collusion, meetings, regulations and non-regulations, the constant selling of money, less than integrous speculations/derivatives, enforced bailouts, subsidies, the endless printing of paper money and on and on, according to some, serve to devalue the monetary system and everything else.

While bailed out Banks break profit and bonus records.


Now, if I’m wrong about what the problems are—and it’s way, way, way over my head and infinitely complex, no matter what others say—there remains nonetheless a greater than $12 trillion government (public) debt (growing by $3.83 billion a day!) in the States (estimated to be $18 trillion by 2014) and something like, is it $35 trillion in all combined debts? $11 trillion in household debt. $15 trillion in mortgage debt. $9 trillion in corporate debt. Granted, America still has a massive economy, by far the largest in the world—and remarkable assets.


As for Canada, it is the 10th largest economy in the world—utterly dependent on US tradewith a federal debt of some $467 billion (2007). The total external debt—moneys owed to foreign creditors—is, as of 2007, $758.6 billion.


Investments require capital, to be sure. Nonetheless, returning to the so-called public bail outs of private interests (in a free market system, ha ha!) and other devaluing wealth policies: recall that all these manipulations, these massive transfer of wealth robberies, appear to be done within the framework of the legal system, based on debt and what some call funny-money, ie artificially deflated or inflated currency (funny, perhaps, as in the Banksters and Traders are laughing). Goldman Sachs basically mocked the politicians at their recent hearings. No apologies. No one has been charged with anything, anywhere, except Bradley Birkenfeld, the whistle-blower against the giant Swiss bank, UBS, where some tens of thousands of wealthy folks were avoiding massive taxes! I believe the judge rejected any notion of leniency for him whatsoever. Thank you, justice.

The ruling by Fort Lauderdale Federal Judge William Zloch ignored both public and legal pleas for leniency by former UBS banker Bradley Birkenfeld, the main whistleblower in the high-profile case that cracked open Swiss banking secrecy.

Further, critics have said no real reforms of any form have yet been put in place. The technique at this point, is bail-outs via the tax-payer (in Greece, we remain in the world of structural adjustment programs, which helped gut Africa and South America over the past decades).

So, for this robbery, a small fee on transactions, and it’s all good?

Getting the mafia to pay a miniscule fraction back to the community for all their brutal and evil deeds does not sound like a reform or a postitive change to me, it sounds like a pay-off.

Why would we see it any different with the financial sectors’ “legal” thievary? Huge aspects of the financial sector is built on countless speculative ponzi schemes, all the way to the present carbon tax. Further, both the Big Power in the financial sector and the mafia will always find a way to not have to pay that tax, or if they do, a way to make up for it, at the cost of the middle class and below. Robin Hood, alas, may turn out to be either a double agent or a desperate addict, but he’s not fixing the situation. He is more simply appeasing the working class/peons while the takeover and the ongoing transfer of wealth continues…


However, if nothing is going to change due to the power of Bank lobbyists and the revolving door between Goldman Sachs/Federal Reserve/Government (Big Banks/Big government), then, well, take the tax and weep about the inevitable…

Food for thought, against another intrusion. Sorry Oxfam, but this may be another bad aid idea—decent on paper but the dictators get rich.

Love more!



Leave a Reply