Most people can agree that the reason for the economic downfall was, for the most part, caused by irresponsible activity by big banks and risky financial transactions. The public suffered, some banks were bailed out by the government, and the CEO’s continued to receive their lofty, and maybe, undeserved, bonuses. So, here’s an idea: Why not make the banks give back what they took from the poor and then some?
This new idea of taxing trades on stocks, bonds, and other big financial transactions has taken root, and it is known as the Robin Hood Tax. It has gained popularity and support from countries in Europe, and other big, names, such as Bill Gates, Al Gore, Ralph Nadar, and even the Pope. Surprisingly enough, this new idea has also gained support from the Occupy Wall Street movement as well, who see this idea as a way to give back to the 99 percent. Many people feel that for just a very small tax on the financial sector, billions could be generated to fight problems such as poverty in the world, among a multitude of other issues. I think Rawls would support this plan, because many people, who are poorly off now, would benefit greatly, showing that there is immense opportunity for their lives to improve if this plan were to be implemented. Also, he would most likely support it because it is a great way to ensure that those with lower incomes are not put at as many disadvantages, simply because they were born into a poor family. Below is a video promoting the Robin Hood Tax in the U.K. It is important to note how little the banks would be taxed under this plan, and how great of a benefit it could generate:
While this may seem like a no brainer and a simple way to help the poor and the rest of the 99 percent, some still feel that this plan could have its drawbacks. For example, the Obama administration is against the plan, feeling that it may push trading overseas, further hurting the economy. I feel like Rawls would disagree with this view, however, because the tax would only slightly hurt the top percentage, while still benefiting the poor and the disadvantaged. Rawls would probably feel as if the small tax is something that the wealthy needs to take upon themselves, to level the playing field and increase fairness amongst the population. Hopefully the wealthy recognizes this small responsibility that they should take upon themselves to benefit a larger portion of people. Rawls also believes in “taxation as a scheme of cooporation”. Taxes allow those who have gained so much from society to give back, and the Robin Hood tax gives the especially wealthy a chance to give back to society what they owe.
Is the Robin Hood Tax fair? Even if it is fair, do you think it would drive economic activity out of the country, further hurting the economy?