The financial transaction tax that Spain will apply in 2014 is a historical demand from civil society, ever since James Tobin conceived his famous tax back in the 1970s. The proposal that is being discussed at present is called the “Robin Hood Tax”. This name, coined by Stamp Out Poverty (a network of reference in the promotion and coordination of social pressure towards the application of the tax) is a brilliant declaration of intent: let us tax the rich to help those most in need. Referring to “the most in the need” cannot be branded, in this case, as demagogy: the measure will be applied over different products from the financial sector, which generates a volume of benefits so gigantic that it is hard to conceive. According to a report by Intermón Oxfam, the volume of global financial transactions surpasses 75 times the overall volume of real economy. Can you visualize the amount of money that it represents? If you are trying to, just take into account that the benefits generated in this sphere are not transformed into growth or into development. On the contrary, they enrich a small group of beneficiaries, who are scarcely taxed for their gains. Another element needs to be added to this already serious picture: the terrible consequences that the bailout of the financial system is having over people in developed countries, and in developing countries too. As usual, the latter are not in the news, but they are suffering in first person the cuts of the funds for international solidarity. We need Robin Hood more than ever.
Given this framework, on December 2012 the European Parliament approved that 11 countries –Spain among them- moved forward in the path towards the implementation of the financial transaction tax. This represents a significant victory for the organizations that have been claiming for the tax for the last 40 years, and for all the people who demand that the financial system pays its share of the effects of the economic and financial crisis, of what it is to be hold accountable for to a large extent. However, another essential step in the fight for the tax is now to be taken: the income generated must be devoted to the fight against poverty, and not to the reduction of the public deficit. It is estimated that the tax will collect near 5 billion euros per year. Intermon Oxfam, together with other organizations coordinated around the Alliance for the Robin Hood Tax, demand that the money is entirely earmarked to fight poverty. Half of the funds should be used to combat poverty in Spain, and the other half should be added to (and not substitute) the funds allocated to International Cooperation and the fight against climate change. A portion of the income -250 million- would be devoted to Maternal and Infant health and to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Despite Cristóbal Montoro may find it difficult to resist the temptation of allocating the funds collected by the tax to other goals, social pressure can make that the tax becomes a tool for justice that relieves those most in need. If you deem it important, you can sign this petition.
Carta firmada por 350 organizaciones para pedir a Rajoy la implementación del Impuesto sobre las Transacciones Financieras (ITF)