News Release

G-20: * Greece * Financial Transaction Tax


COSTAS PANAYOTAKIS, [in NYC] cpanayotakis at
Panayotakis is associate professor of sociology at the New York City College of Technology at CUNY and author of the forthcoming book “Remaking Scarcity: From Capitalist Inefficiency to Economic Democracy.” He said today: “Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou’s attempt to escape growing popular opposition to austerity by calling for a referendum has turned into a political fiasco, as German chancellor Merkel and French President Sarkozy have responded to his announcement by dictating that Greek voters can decide not on the latest European agreement but only on whether Greece will remain in the eurozone. By raising the possibility of Greece getting out of the eurozone, the German and French governments are hoping that they can blackmail the Greek public into submission. This threat has thrown the Greek government into turmoil and made it unclear whether the referendum will actually take place. By recommitting themselves to draconian austerity policies that have led not to the containment of the European crisis but to its spread and deepening, European leaders are as likely to fuel anti-austerity movements in Greece and across the continent as they are to exacerbate political instability in Greece.”

Reuters reports today: “European leaders could make progress in their drive for a financial transaction tax at a Group of 20 summit this week after French President Nicolas Sarkozy indicated Washington may prove less of a barrier than in the past.”

KAREN HIGGINS, Charles Idelson, cidelson at
DONNA SMITH, donnas at,
Higgins and Smith are with National Nurses United, the largest union and professional association of nurses in the U.S. — with 170,000 members. They just released a statement: “Nurses from Four Continents to Step Up Call Nov. 3 on President Obama, Other World Leaders for Tax on Wall Street,” which says: “National Nurses United, joined by the AFL-CIO and community activists, including participants from the Occupy Wall Street movement, will protest outside the U.S. Treasury Department in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Nov. 3 to press President Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner for a meaningful financial transaction tax (FTT) to help heal the U.S. and join the growing global movement for an FTT.

“On that same day, nurses from four continents, including a delegation from NNU, will be on hand at the opening of the G-20 summit of world leaders in France to demonstrate how to ‘inject an FTT’ to resuscitate the ailing global economy.”

“It is long past time for Secretary Geithner and President Obama to get on board with other world leaders in supporting this common-sense approach to raise badly needed revenues to help fund the critical programs we need to revive the U.S. and other global economies,” said NNU Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro, who will speak at the G-20 press conference in Cannes.

The group states: “NNU has been campaigning since early spring for an FTT, essentially a sales tax on trades of stocks, bonds, derivatives, and other financial transactions mainly targeting the big banks and investment firms whose reckless activities caused the current economic crisis. As much as $350 billion annually could be raised by a meaningful FTT, with the revenues available for such needs as good jobs, healthcare for all, and funding for quality public education. The Obama administration has been an obstacle for the Wall Street tax, and in the face of a growing international demand for other nations, especially in Europe, to adopt their own FTT, Geithner has lobbied European finance ministers to oppose the FTT.”

Note: Citizens for Tax Justice today released a report titled “Corporate Taxpayers & Corporate Tax Dodgers, 2008-2010.” “These 280 corporations received a total of nearly $224 billion in tax subsidies,” said Robert McIntyre, director at Citizens for Tax Justice and the report’s lead author. “This is wasted money that could have gone to protect Medicare, create jobs and cut the deficit.”