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Show your solidarity against Wall Street recklessness

Susan Harley, deputy director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division

Public Citizen is standing in solidarity with our European allies who are leading the charge for a strong financial transaction tax (FTT or Wall Street tax) to come out of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (Ecofin). Though France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Estonia, Austria, Portugal, Greece and Slovakia agreed in May 2014 to collaboratively tax financial transactions of shares and “certain” derivative contracts, with the tax taking effect no later than January 2016, the final details of the proposal are still in negotiation. When these European countries have a strong FTT in place it will pave the way for U.S. lawmakers to pass a Wall Street tax here in America too.

Because of the importance of this international agreement, Public Citizen and our allies are joining in a worldwide action to urge European financial leaders to agree to a strong FTT proposal. In advance of the final European finance ministers’ meeting of 2014 on Tuesday, December 9, we ask that you join this movement and show your solidarity too!

There are a few ways you can get involved:

  • Print out this placard and fill in the reasons why you support a European financial transactions tax. Then snap a photo of yourself holding the sign and Tweet it out to your followers using the hash tag #FTT. (See my photo and photo of U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) to see how it’s done.) Your photo may be added to the international collage that’s being created for presentation to the European finance ministers.
  • Short on time? To make it easier, we’ve created some shareable social media images that you can find on Public Citizen’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
  • Support the U.S. proposal to tax Wall Street trades by taking Public Citizen’s online action.

U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.)
U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.)

Taxing Wall Street is essential because high-frequency trading and similar reckless financial practices contributed to the worldwide recession in 2008 and the “Flash Crash” of 2010. An FTT would discourage risky trading practices as well as bring in significant amounts of revenue, with one proposal estimated to raise $352 billion over nine years. Such a tax on stock and derivatives trades would have little effect on ordinary investors, but would greatly reduce high-speed speculative trading.

A Wall Street tax has plenty of precedent. From 1914 to 1966, America taxed stock issuances and transfers. Although the U.S. does not have a robust FTT, it does currently have a tiny fee on stock trades to fund the work of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Thirty other countries, including the United Kingdom and Switzerland, have some version of an FTT. Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, among others, support FTTs. Bills to reestablish a Wall Street tax in the U.S. are pending in Congress and the joint 10 country collaborative FTT is an important step toward getting us there.

Please join in this important international action and share your picture with the sign above or Tweet one of the images with the hash tag #FTT.

Together, in solidarity, we can achieve victory!

Susan Harley is the deputy director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division.