Across the country —from Palo Alto to El Paso, Maine to Miami—nurses and other activists rallied today in the late winter sun to lobby Congressional lawmakers for a tax on Wall Street’s riskiest transactions.
In his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery In The New World, the historian David Brion Davis contends that ownership is not necessary for enslavement. What is, he posits, is debt, or the vassal’s “perpetual condition of dishonor,” which provides the “master class with a resource for parasitic and psychological exploitation,” imposing on the slave a type of “social death.”
After more than four million homes foreclosed, an enduring and substantial devaluation of residences that has kept one in five American homes “under water” – worth less than their mortgages, wiping out savings, and the immeasurable hardship and harm visited upon millions of American families from the dislocation and destitution resulting, the banks that caused the financial collapse of 2008 are paying up. But this one-time pay back is not nearly enough.
As the grocery bags suddenly become half-empty and too many kids start going hungry, a lot of people are going to ask: "Where can we find the money to feed our children?" Here's one source, probably the biggest untapped revenue source in our nation - Wall Street.
Tell me if you have seen this movie before. Washington manufactures a budget crisis, waits till the last minute to deal with it and then at the eleventh hour kicks the can down the road just to have the whole fight over again three to six months later. Rinse and repeat.
The world's greatest democracy and the richest nation on earth has been reduced to governing by crisis. Jumping from one manufactured budget crisis to another and each time holding our economic security hostage.
The U.S. Robin Hood Tax Campaign has as its goal taxing Wall Street speculative trading to raise substantial revenue, what we estimate to be $350 billion a year, to bring communities the real recovery promised but not delivered, as well as to fund international efforts for research and treatment of HIV/AIDS and to control climate change.
Everyone with children attending public schools has a story to tell. The common theme is severe over-crowding. In New York, for example, classroom size exceeds 30 in almost every instance outside the tony suburbs. It is not unusual to hear of shortages of essential supplies, not the least textbooks. Cutbacks offer no protection for physical education—gone are the days of attending a regular gym class. No small matter, given the extreme importance of keeping kids in shape-- burning off calories, developing muscles and lungs.
Climate change is here with a vengeance. Flood levels in Europe are at a 500-year high, as vulnerable cities and towns make preparations for recurring deluge. In New York City, new warnings were issued this week about an expanding flood plain on which 800,000 city residents will reside by the mid-2050’s, double the number today, reports the New York Times.
Last week’s collapse, of a Washington State bridge on Interstate 5 which fell into the water after officials say a truck load clipped the steel truss, is just the latest evidence of the broad demise of the nation’s infrastructure. From bridges to roads, water and sewage systems, to air traffic control operations, the vital undergird of the U.S. is unraveling with lives certain to be lost, public health compromised, and local economies damaged.