If there is one enduring message from the past year, it is that the days of silent suffering are over for the millions of Americans who continue to face a daily struggle to survive while Wall Street high rollers have yet to be called to account for ruining our economy.
The Occupy movement has transformed the status quo, and built an experienced army of activists who will be heard from again and again.
Similarly America's nurses who spent much of 2011 helping to revive the call for meaningful action against Wall Street to demand restitution for the economic ruin are planning a year long campaign to continue to press for real reform.
We're starting with the premiere of a new video ad, "A Nightmare on Wall Street:"
The ad depicts an imagined encounter between a Wall Street banker and the victims of financial misdeed and the government's too-big-to-fail policies -- carried out at the expense of Main Street's small businesses, students, unemployed and elderly.
It's a fictional nightmare for the banker juxtaposed against an every day nightmare for the tens of millions of families enduring job loss, priced out of needed healthcare and educational opportunity, facing the loss of their home, and staring at a bleak and uncertain future, all while the 1 percent continue to enjoy their 50-foot yachts, corporate jets, and vacation homes.
With the video, we have a message for Wall Street. It's time to pay back for the damage you have wrought. A meaningful tax on stocks, bonds, derivatives, currencies, and other financial instruments could harvest up to $350 billion every year to help reframe the economy and heal America.
Many world markets already have such a financial transaction tax. The European Union is widely expected to pass a continent wide FTT this year.
With the help of National Nurses United members -- who held protests last year on Wall Street, outside the White House and Treasury Department, at dozens of Congressional offices, brought the message into Occupy protests coast to coast, and joined with international labor, environmental and non-government organizations to press the issue at the G-20 summit of world leaders in France, it's on the agenda again in the U.S.
Don't be misled by temporary blips in jobs numbers -- this crisis is real and enduring. With 18.5 million vacant homes and foreclosures apace, 3.5 million homeless and one in two Americans at or near poverty, America's nurses are sounding an online alarm.
Without a commitment to substantial new revenue, this appalling demise will continue with grievous consequences. In their hospitals and communities, America's registered nurses are seeing the very tangible results of an America engulfed in poverty and insecurity -- stress-related illnesses, mental and emotional collapse, suicide.
The nurses are not alone. In a recent national poll, 85% of primary care physicians and pediatricians identified "low household income" as a negative effect on health in more than half their patients. "Low access to adequate health insurance" measured the same.
Yet, the 1% grow richer. Their average annual household income is more than $1.5 million and average net worth in the tens of millions. Compensation pools at the seven biggest U.S. banks totaled $156 billion in 2011, a 3.7% increase over the previous year's record-breaking number.
The time is now: taxing Wall Street transactions is the starting point for a national recovery.
In addition to the ad, National Nurses United (NNU) has revamped an innovative website www.ProtestIntheUSA.org to help provide information for the movement of the 99 percent.
Visit the site are sign our Petition to Support a Real Financial Transaction Tax on Wall Street and to upload details and videos about protests in which they are involved.
Let's bring an end to the American nightmare, and genuinely restore the American dream.
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