WHO'S BEHIND THE MASK?

We've got a Lord who runs the agency regulating financial services supporting the iconic Tobin Tax pledge of the anti globalisation movement. And now we’ve got the conservative duo Sarkozy and Merkel making the running to tame excessive pay and bonuses in banks.

I never realised there were on our side! And then I realised they tried to convince us they were when they expalined how the excessive greed of the other “masters of the universe” was somehow contributing to the economy. “Yes we can” they all must have said when they gave themselves bigger and bigger bonuses, higher and higher pay.

So it does feel slightly strange that many people now applaud the Establishment for calling for policies which were deemed too radical when those less in thrawl to the City called for them?

Well in the real world, the "have nots" have just realised that we've been taking over the responsibility of the risks of the "have yachts". Why can Wall Street implement measures that we were ridiculed for proposing them before it got any worse?

When we warned that the financial sectors' ability to avoid taxation probably affects social cohesion more than a teenager spraying graffiti on your wall? Would we have been more credible if it had been the "too big to fail" City saying this rather than the social democratic left?

But let's move beyond the "we told you so" (we did..he did even earlier) and the "I believed this all along" (but didn't act on it?) and look at proposals to get us out of this mess. What about a tax on currency transactions?

OK but how do we this in practice given how complex and different tax structures are in each country? How about a Robin Hood Tax?

What's the Robin Hood Tax? It taxes currency conversions in foreign exchange markets which reduces the incentives to speculate in the short term. How does this add up?

Given the turnover in these markets is around $3.2tn, even if you went for a very cautious 0.05% tax, you would create a revenue of at least $400bn a year. But won't the financial sector complain about this new tax? Are they complaining about the money the taxpayer is bailing them out with?


What do we do with that money? We could start by using it to help insure our residents from life risks. And then we could making the system more transparent. We could stop the "double shuffle" strategy of humanising the market with one hand and deregulating it with the other. "Whatever it takes".

Now that doesn't sound too radical does it?

Just a tiny tax on banks could have huge impacts on the poorest people in society both here and abroad. You should support the Robin Hood Tax too!

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