Spread The Word.......support The Concept
It’s simple: the financial crisis and the recession have left a massive hole in the US’s public finances. Jobs and and the community services we rely on are at risk in the US while many other developed and developing countries face a similar struggle.
But there is another way. Robin Hood supporters believe that banks, hedge funds and the rest of the financial sector should pay their fair share to clear up the mess they helped create.
Home is where the heart is. It's should be where we share meals with our families and friends, where we come home to, and where we watch our kids grow up. But for over 20 million Americans home is a hardship.
Since the banks crashed the economy we’ve seen the numbers of people at risk of losing their home, or living in insecure, overpriced, rental homes skyrocket.
Home is a hardship for the 9.4 million families in this country that have to spend more than 50% of their incomes on housing costs. And for the 11.1 million families are underwater on their mortgage. And the cruelest twist? That means they are paying the same banks that crashed the economy and drove down the value of their houses more for their mortgage than their home is currently worth.
We all deserve a place to call home. Especially now. Congress continues to slash housing assistance, the jobless rate remains staggeringly high and we’re facing the worst foreclosure crisis in a generation combined with higher rents. American families are struggling to find and keep an affordable roof over their heads.
We know what having a stable place to call home means: it means better lives for our children, it means better health for the entire family, and it means an increase in neighborhood safety.
The Robin Hood tax could raise billions every year to ensure everyone in this country has a safe, dignified, place to call home.
Let's be honest. Whether you're renting, or own a house it's tough times.
Almost 5 million families have had their homes in foreclosure just in the last two years and research shows that if we continue with our current policies, we aren’t even half way through the foreclosure crisis. That means that more than 10 million families will face foreclosure in the coming years. Something is terribly wrong.
Many of those who have kept their houses are struggling to make payments and keep their homes. 11 million Americans currently are in debt to the banks that hold their mortgages more than their homes are even worth.
Why? More often than not, they bought their homes before Wall Street bankers tanked the economy with their gambling and speculation. The foreclosure crisis and slow recovery have meant that housing values are at historic lows.
But – these banks, who received billions of public money in bailouts, are still requiring that your friends and neighbors pay them back the pre-crash prices even though it’s their fault, not our fault, that our homes are losing value. We still pay. They don’t.
And the picture is not just homeowners. More than a third of Americans rent their homes, and they're facing skyrocketing rents and declining security.
Our Seniors have been hit hard because in the midst of this country’s revenue crisis Congress has been making cuts to housing assistance. Over half of all housing assistance goes to help the elderly or disabled have a safe place to live. These cuts means millions are seeing a decline in their quality and security of housing.
What Robin Can Do
There are a lot of reasons for this crazy situation. It won't change overnight. But a major part of the blame for the ongoing threat our homes face lies with the politicians we've elected. And, unsurprisingly, they're also at the heart of the solution – with a little help from Robin Hood.
It's a government's responsibility to put the interests of the people above those of the banks. We bailed out the banks, now it's time to bailout society. Why? because it's society that is 'too big to fail'. A large part of that starts with protecting our homes. Put simply, our government is not asking the financial sector to pay its fair share in taxes. A Robin Hood Tax is a move towards that.
The Robin Hood Tax will also slow down the dangerous speculation on mortgages that led to the current economic and foreclosure crisis.
The Robin Hood Tax will raise enough revenue to shore up and expand our crumbling public housing infrastructure, provide rental assistance to any and all who need it and help struggling homeowners keep their homes.It could allow every American to have a safe, dignified place to call home.
Imagine you can't read, write, or count. Would it hold you back?
You wouldn’t be able send text messages, surf the internet, read instructions on medication bottles or catch a bus.
Education is key to allowing us to live the lives we want, and to fulfilling our potential. It opens the doors to jobs, and people playing a meaningful part in society and our democracy. Unfortunately, today in the US many people are not receiving the education they deserve.
The cuts to education following the economic crisis have made a bad situation worse.
And it's hitting those from low-income backgrounds hardest. Education beats poverty and gives people a voice. It allows them to speak out and be heard, it allows them to make positive changes in their own lives and break the poverty cycle for good.
Millions of young Americans are denied education from their earliest years, as universal pre-Kindergarten does not exist and many four-year olds are simply not in school. That’s just the beginning.
For grades K through 12, conditions have detoritated. Over-crowded, under-funded public schools are the norm, where curriculums come up short. Kids are being short-changed on their future.
College tuition fees are rocketing, and this commercialisation of education excludes many. And those that can afford are saddled with cripplingly debt - student debt has now topped a trillion dollars.
The Robin Hood Tax could raise billions every year to make sure all children and adults receive the education they deserve.
Let’s start with the numbers. In the last decade, pre-K spending fell more than $700 per child. The U.S. ranks 17th for science and 25th for mathematics in the world—“below average,” according to the OECD. In the last five years, 43 states have cut student funding for higher education. College student debt has overtaken credit card debt in the U.S.— to more than $1 trillion.
All that sounds like a lot. But then so does 77 million, which is the number of children and adults enrolled in school throughout the country in 2009-10 school year — from nursery school right up to college. That's massive. And it wasn't the case a hundred years ago. It's happened largely because of Government spending. And it proves that change is possible.
Of course, there are lots of reasons our young people are not receiving the education they need. Children now are getting 700 dollars less worth of spending on their pre K education. Declines at the nation's poorest schools are the steepest, as crowded, dilapidated schools set the standard. Arts, dance, drama, physical education have all been sidelined. Tuition and fees at public universities have surged almost 130% over the last 20 years, despite middle class incomes stagnating.
Young people from low income backgrounds are much more likely to miss out. Decent funding for public education can help reverse this trend and play a key role in reducing inequality.
Some of these problems come down to funding. And the cuts precipitated by the economic crisis, combined with rocketing costs of tertiary education mean our young people are not receiving the education they deserve. Higher education can't be a luxury – it's an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford.
What Robin Can Do
Despite the bad news, there is a lot to be hopeful about. First, that in this year alone 3.2 million people in this country will receive a high school diploma. That every child can receive a free and public education. We've come along away in the last few decades but sustained investment in necessary to ensure education levels move forwards, not backwards.
And then there’s also the indisputable fact that investment in education – with a particular focus on the early years – is one of the single best ways to ensure social progress.
It’s obvious, really. Educate people and the whole of society benefits. People’s job prospects increase. They earn a better living and build better services. Populations become healthier. Democracy grows as the gender gap reduces. And so on and so on and so on.
Put simply, education can change the world.
And the Robin Hood Tax could raise billions every year to make sure all children and all adults receive the education they deserve.
Global Poverty and Health
We've all seen the headlines. Famine. Water shortages. Conflict. Natural disasters. Millions going without health or education. Being born in an impoverished country should not mean giving birth is a risk to your life, choosing between carrying water and going to school, or deciding between a place to live or food for your family.
Yet we know, too, that we’re making significant progress : millions out of poverty; thanks to development efforts millions more children are in school, millions are receiving access to life saving medicines, more mothers are living through child birth and lives are being transformed.
There's a real chance that these positive trends are being reversed, and the poorest are being left behind all together. The effects of the global economic crisis have been felt around the world and the poor countries, who did nothing to cause the crisis, are feeling the effects.
Financial crisis, recession, global downturn – whatever you choose to call it – the economic mess caused by risky investors in rich countries in 2008 set in motion a troubling chain of events.
As global markets collapsed, billions of dollars disappeared over night and with it millions of people saw their livelihoods disappear, food prices rocket, and services collapse. All through no fault of their own.
Imagine for a minute that you’ve already spend 80% of your income on food – even the slightest price increase or drop in your income could mean you go without food for a few days. What would you do?
The crisis created a financial ‘hole’ for the 56 poorest countries, mostly in Africa. Zambia has slashed its health spending, while Niger and Mali have taken the axe to their schools budget. The World Bank estimates that two million children will die as a direct impact of the crisis.
Following the crisis we have seen a drop in the level of aid rich countries are giving, with many countries failing to live up to their promises on aid, and debt relief efforts are faltering. While the banks are returning to record profits and bonuses it is people in the world's poorest countries, who did nothing to cause the crash, who are paying the price.
Communities are struggling and people in poverty are fighting to drag themselves back from the effects of the crisis. But is not over yet and the impact of this downturn will hit them harder and longer.
The Robin Hood Tax could raise billions every year to ensure rich countries meet their aid commitments for health and development and relieve poor countries' debt.
Safe drinking water, a school for children, doctors and midwives and affordable medicine at the clinic, food on the table – it’s a no brainer. Yet despite progress millions of people around the world still do not have access to these basic needs.
Communities around the world are fighting to get the tools, rights, and access they need to end poverty. And we know that this is a world-wide responsibility: giving aid, cancelling crushing debt, and giving countries the tools they need to end their own poverty are showing huge progress.
Rich nations made some progress on these issues at the G8 Summit held in 2005 where world leaders promised to cancel some of the debts of 42 countries, and give an extra $100 billion in aid by 2010 – half of it to Africa. These commitments have been derailed by the financial crisis, with aid budgets being slashed and debt relief faltering.
Aid is a crucial part of development. Aid alone cannot solve the crises of poverty and inequality, promote gender equality and realize human rights. But for some of the poorest countries in the world, domestic funds are simply not enough to tackle poverty and ensure good health. Aid from rich countries can make a huge difference to the lives of poor people living within these countries.
Aid has helped build hospitals, train teachers, pay doctors’ salaries and buy textbooks for schools and medical equipment for clinics. In doing this aid can help countries reduce the number of women dying in pregnancy and child birth, increase the number of children who have access to a quality education and vaccinate children against diseases.
Take one example: in 2002 only 50,000 Africans were receiving life-saving Aids medicine, but by 2010 aid had helped increase this figure to more than five million.
Without debt relief rich countries are forcing poor countries to repay debts far bigger than their original loans, instead of spending precious cash on essentials like schools and hospitals. This means people are literally paying with their lives.
What Robin Can Do
A Robin Hood Tax could help provide money to help lift millions out of poverty.
Progress can be made. Since Zambia’s debt was cancelled in 2005, its government has been able to introduce free health care for people in the countryside – removing fees that once stopped millions getting care they needed. And education got a boost too – extra funds made available by debt relief also paid for 4,500 badly-needed new teachers.
Millions of children in Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Malawi are now going to school, thanks to a combination of debt relief and aid.
The Robin Hood Tax could raise billions to ensure that people in countries around the world can start living the lives they deserve.
Lost your job? Know someone who has? Or are you, or your family being paid less money for the same work? Well, you're with millions of others as stories like these become all too familiar across the US.
It’s because we’re in the middle of the longest jobs crisis our country has seen in more than sixty years. And, the picture is even more grim for some of us. For young adults, African-American and Latino communities the picture looks even worse.
And it isn’t like there is no work to be done. Look around - our nation is worse for the wear. We have pushed back and pushed back making the investment to maintain our physical infrastructure. Now, we need at least $2 trillion just to preserve what we already have and invest in keeping our country cutting on edge.
We’re also watching the destruction of our human infrastructure with teachers, social workers, fire fighters and police all losing their jobs due to budget cuts brought about by the banking crisis.
We’re told we can’t afford safe bridges, to educate our children and grandchildren and care for those who are aging or who need it most. We’re told the solution to our jobs crisis is somehow to fire more people. We don’t buy it.
There is a solution, one that puts us back to work and rebuilds America. By investing in our infrastructure we will create and save thousands of jobs while making healthier and more sustainable nation. We can have a nation with full employment, schools that work, safe bridges, roads and parks.
A Robin Hood Tax could raise billions every year to invest back in our nation, good jobs, and getting America back to work.
It will take an investment. It will take facing the facts: we are at a crossroads. We’ve been fighting to preserve what we have. That’s not enough. We have to rethink what work we do in this country. We have to figure out how to boldly go into this next century with opportunity. Good jobs, hope, and opportunity.
Let's start with some numbers. 5.3 million Americans have been unemployed for over 6 months, average unemployment lasts 40 weeks - and that’s only the ones that are still looking for work and haven’t given up hope.
The long-term unemployment rate is the worst it’s been in 60 years. Economists agree that a real recovery means creating 250,000 to 300,000 jobs a month. That means creating twice as many jobs per month than we are right now. You probably did not need an economist to tell you that. You know people that don’t have enough work, or a student who just got out of school and has big debt and little or no hope of finding the kind of job that existed even ten years ago.
The crisis that started on Wall Street is being felt in offices and workplaces across the country. At the state and municipal level job losses have totalled 646,000 since 2008. Most striking, almost a third of those, 270,000 have been in our pre-k’s, schools, colleges and universities. With Robin’s help, we can be a place where college graduates look forward to opportunity.
What Robin Can do
It's a mess. There are simply not enough jobs to go round. And many that those do exist are not secure or paid a decent, living wage.
We know what we’d do. We’d get Robin Hood involved. Urgently. Serious investment is required to create jobs that allow people to support themselves and their families. Jobs that offer opportunities and satisfaction – that allow people to play their part in society.
The billions that could be raised by a Robin Hood Tax would be a good way to start raising the cash to pay for the jobs the US so desperately needs.
5.3 million Americans have been unemployed for over 6 months, average unemployment period is 40 weeks.
The national average unemployment rate is almost twice as high as before the financial crisis.
In communities of color, unemployment rates are staggering. African-American unemployment is at 14.0%, the Latino rate is 10.3%.
The bank driven recession has cost states and municipalities dearly, with state and local job losses totalling 646,000 since 2008 - 270,000 of those in education.
Economists agree that a real recovery means creating 250,000 to 300,000 jobs a month, more than double what our economy is producing now.
Tell Everyone You Know
Robin Hood is coming and we need your help to start spreading the word. So tell your friends, your family, the person sitting next to you - basically everyone you know.
There is much more at www.robinhoodtax.org
Copyright © 2012 The Robin Hood Tax
ELFINSONG 56-60, M 2 Responses 0 May 20, 2012