National Nurses United (NNU) selected April 4th to launch its national campaign for the “Robin Hood Tax” to commemorate the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King and honor his call for equality.
The legislation is officially called “The Inclusive Prosperity Act,” a title that strains the limits of euphemism.
The Robin Hood Tax claims to target income inequality by taxing financial transactions at a 0.5% rate.
NNU- backed protesters staged their campaign at Congressional offices across the country. It is, perhaps, shrewd to align raising taxes with such a popular public figure. But this strategy is flawed, and not only by the difficulty of verifying any specifics about the late Dr. King's alleged endorsement.
Today’s advocates aren’t as appealing. State Rep. Derrick Smith (D-Chicago) is co-sponsor of an Illinois version of the Robin Hood tax. Smith introduced the bill in Springfield last August, sixteen months after being indicted, charged with accepting a $7,000 bribe. He’s still in office, facing trial next month.
Then there’s the economic logic. Supporters attempt to minimize the impact of this proposed blow to the economy by calling it a "tiny tax" as though it is a trivial, possibly even adorable, penalty. Taxing people, even at a darling rate, won't magically introduce money into the economy.
As Forbes economics writer Tim Worstall puts it, "the Robin Hood Tax isn't the answer to any question other than “how do we make everyone poorer?'"
He means that an unfortunate consequence of this proposal would be a reduction in stock and bond trading volume, a dangerous threat to the overall liquidity essential for a healthy economy. Reduction in market activity would lead to increased volatility and intensified risk that disproportionately impacts independent traders and individual investors.
In other words-- it hurts the little guys.
The largest Wall Street firms could absorb a transactional tax, pass the cost to consumers and would actually benefit from this strike against their smaller competitors. The tax is backed by Big Labor, designed to enrich both big government and big business at the expense of small business and entrepreneurs.
Contrary to the script of contemporary left wing ideology, Robin Hood 's populist crusade was against the unjust, corrupt and lascivious appetites of his tax collecting oppressor, the Sheriff of Nottingham. He reclaimed taxed income from Sherwood Forest's version of an IRS and returned assets back to the people.
Robin Hood and his band of merry men were united by a philosophy that more closely resembled a Tea Party convention than National Nurses United. Their mission was to weaken the power of bloated authority, advance opportunities for individuals and offer hope and justice to those worn down by the crippling demands of government greed, not pine for more of it.