Friday, 20 February 2009

Building a mass movement for tax justice

As the New Depression takes hold the Left must push hard for tax justice. An economic recession will see tax revenues fall, putting pressure on government's social spending budget, which in times of severity will be even more necessary. For its part, big business will be pushing for a combination of "stimulus spending" - on their terms with the most benefit to their profits - and tax breaks. Thus social spending will come under the squeeze. Government revenue from tax, and where the government directs that wealth, will be a political battleground in the years ahead. The call for tax justice will resonate with low and middle income earners. Mobilisng masses of people behind concrete demands like getting rid of GST or a Finnancial Transaction Tax (FTT) is very possible. It will only be through truly mass campaigns that such progressive tax reforms will be won. Below is article penned by longtime US social justice and environmental campaigner, Ralph Nader, on the need for a Financial Transaction Tax in America. He argues that hundreds of billions dollars of government revenue could be raised by a modest tax on financial transcations in the order of 10 to 25 cents per hundred dollars. The left in New Zealand has long seen the need for a Financial Transaction Tax. It was one of RAM's Ten Commandments (for more detail see The RAM Plan).
How to Lighten the Income Tax Load on the American Worker: Tax the Speculators! by Ralph Nader from Counterpunch 7 February 2009 Let's start with a fairness point. Why should you pay a 5 to 6 percent sales tax for buying the necessities of life, when tomorrow, some speculator on Wall Street can buy $100 million worth of Exxon derivatives and not pay one penny in sales tax?Let's further add a point of common sense. The basic premise of taxation should be to first tax what society likes the least or dislikes the most, before it taxes honest labor or human needs.
See also Who bears the tax burden - the poor or the rich? A global battleground

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