A Tiny Tax on the Big Banks, Huge Change for the World

04/12/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

UK global health and anti-poverty campaigners and director Richard Curtis (Four Weddings and a Funeral fame) teamed up today to launch a campaign for a simple idea:

A tiny tax (less than one quarter of one percent or less) on currently-untaxed financial transactions like currency speculation and high frequency stock trading could raise billions to create jobs, fight AIDS, address maternal health, and fight climate change.

President Obama's proposal for a Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee to recoup federal bailout funds is not enough--it would not stop Wall Street churning and would not generate the money needed to reinvest in communities that have been hit hardest by the crisis--here at home and around the world.

Check out the video:

There's a facebook page at

So what's the idea?

For those of us who aren't involved in speculation--who don't trade currency or stocks on a daily or minute-by-minute basis--we wouldn't even notice. For those who are, economists tell us that slowing down speculation would actually be a good thing for the real economy.

Meanwhile, it would raise somewhere between $30 and $150 billion per year to make up for the real impacts of the bank-caused economic crisis...

In a moment when working folks in the US aren't seeing much of a "recovery" it could be a huge help to create jobs.

It would also enabling the US to make good on our global promises.
The economic crisis has perhaps worst hit those on the who can least afford it--an estimated 46 million more people are living in poverty as a result of the crisis, AIDS clinics in Africa are being forced to turn away patients, and an estimated 200,000-400,000 more infants will likely die in developing countries as a result.

Meanwhile the affects of climate change are hitting the most impoverished countries with no hope in sight. Despite having contributed massively less than wealthy countries to CO2 emissions, impoverished communities in Africa and Asia are facing islands being submerged by rising sea levels, creeping droughts causing starvation, and multiple other affects.

This seems very much like an idea whose time has come! Join in!