Robin Hood to the Rescue
In that spirit, there are campaigns in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and other countries for a Robin Hood Tax -- what we in the United States call a financial speculation (or transaction) tax -- a tiny fee (0.25 %) on the financial sector to raise literally tens or hundreds of billions of dollars per year to help the rest of us.
Who supports a tax on financial speculation? Over 200 prominent economists, including Nobel Laureates, such as Paul Krugman. The New York Times named it a top idea -- giving credit to CEPR co-director Dean Baker as a leading proponent of it -- and respected business leaders, including Warren Buffett, have called for such a tax to "discourage excessive share trading" and encourage longer-term investment strategies.
Who's against it? You guessed it: big banks and Wall Street. The Robin Hood Tax campaign even put together a fun video (directed by Richard Curtis, director of "Four Weddings and a Funeral") with the pirate actor Bill Nighy playing a big banker -- and showing how their arguments don't hold water.
In the United States, campaigns for a tax on financial speculation are just getting started. There's a "Wall Street Tax" facebook page and a "Tiny Tax" web page. And CEPR has detailed research and resources about it.
So as you and your friends and family go to see "Robin Hood" at the movies, remember -- and remind folks -- that we could use a little more Robin Hood in the world today.