Thursday, September 23, 2010

Raising Revenue: More on the Robin Hood Tax

I promised to write something more about what is variously called the Tobin Tax, the Robin Hood Tax or the Finanacial Transaction Tax. Perhaps we should compromise on the Tobin Hood Tax?

But I have saved myself a job by downloading the report Raising Revenue from the Stamp Out Poverty website:

Critics would have you believe that Financial Transaction Taxes are hard to implement, unfeasible and easy to avoid. Raising Revenue, a new report by Just Economics for Health Poverty Action and Stamp Out Poverty, blows apart this myth, demonstrating that FTTs in fact already exist throughout the world.

The report details FTTs in both developed and developing countries and elicits some key principles for their successful implementation. In-depth case studies of countries including: Taiwan, Brazil, Argentina, Japan, Peru, China and United Kingdom show how billions can be raised from their financial sectors.

A particular slant of the report is how developing/middle income countries could potentially harness the wealth of their own financial markets to raise revenue themselves to fund public spending and safeguard the provision of services such as healthcare.

I still have questions about this tax. The Richard Curtis video I linked to yesterday suggested that some of the funds raised through it in Britain could be spent here. Certainly, given the amount of public poured into the banks, there will be strong political pressure for this to take place.

And, while the supporters of the tax are keen to argue that it will have no effect on the financial markets, might it not be a very good thing to throw a little sand into that high-performance machinery and slow it down?

Anyway, read the report. It is very good.

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