Caregivers unite to tax Wall Street

To those who paint Occupy Wall Street protesters as delinquents and deadbeats – your claim has been refuted. One of the hardest-working segments of our society has joined the movement.

A union of registered nurses delivered a petition signed by more than 300,000 people to Congress yesterday, proposing a specific and subtle way to generate revenue for medical assistance programs.

While the top tier of healthcare executives reaps most of the spoils, nurses tirelessly grind out long shifts to ensure the health and safety of our people. And rather than simply complaining about the problem, they’ve prepared a solution.Armies of red-shirted nurses marched in cities across the country to champion a financial transaction tax in their campaign entitled, “Heal America, Tax Wall Street.” The financial transaction tax is a very small levy on financial short-term transactions (think a miniscule fraction of the transaction). It would curb excessive speculation by big banks, but with minimal impact on long-term investors. In the meantime, it would raise enough revenue that the government wouldn’t have to cut Medicare or Social Security. (Now do you see where the nurses come in?)

Here in the nation’s capital, the nurses met with congressional aides to several members of Congress, including Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md., and a member of the super committee) and Sen. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.). The nurses outlined the detailed solution through a small tax on financial transactions identical to Britain’s current requirement. The plan estimates to raise $350 billion a year, revenue that can save lives.

The nurses shared stories of people who suffered due to medical costs – including a single father who died after two jobs couldn’t earn enough for medication and a woman that became homeless after choosing life-saving surgery over mortgage payments. At the same time, many Wall Street titans scrape by without paying any taxes. How does that seem fair?

These stories only mark only a few examples among millions of tragedies that hit American families every day. Maybe those families can take comfort in the fact that at least troops on the ground in the healthcare battle are fighting for them.