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"Serious as a Heart Attack": RoseAnn DeMoro Explains How to Raise $350 Billion from Financial Transaction Tax

Bill Moyers talks to RoseAnn DeMoro of National Nurses United about the union's march in Chicago for the Robin Hood Financial Transaction Tax.

Photo Credit: Moyers & Company


Bill talks to RoseAnn DeMoro, who heads the largest registered nurses union in the country, and will lead a Chicago march protesting economic inequality on May 18. DeMoro is championing the Robin Hood Tax, a small government levy the financial sector would pay on commercial transactions like stocks and bonds. The money generated, which some estimate could be as much as $350 billion annually, could be used for social programs and job creation — ultimately to people who, without a doubt, need it more than the banks do.

DeMoro and her organization, National Nurses United, have an inspiring history of defeating some of the toughest opponents in government and politics.

 BILL MOYERS: ... I’m always amazed that there are people out across America who still fight back. Who don’t give up, no matter the odds.

Case in point: my next guest and the powerful union she heads will lead a march fighting back against economic inequality in Chicago on May 18th. The Chicago protest is part of a growing international movement in support of what’s called the Robin Hood tax, named after the legendary English outlaw who took from the rich and gave to the poor back in the 13th Century.

The Robin Hood tax is a small government levy the financial sector would pay on commercial transactions like stocks and bonds. Supporters say it’s a tiny tax to clean up the mess the banks helped create. The money generated could be used for social programs and job creation.

As the idea has spread around the world, it’s been estimated that a Robin Hood tax could raise as much as $77 billion in the European Union countries and $350 billion a year, here in the U.S., The movement has been embraced by Germany’s Angela Merkel, Pope Benedict, South African Bishop Desmond Tutu, and billionaire philanthropists Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. Its momentum has been bolstered by a savvy media campaign that ranges from slapstick…

BANKERS in ADVERTISEMENT: The bankers win! The bankers win! We’ve won again!

BILL MOYERS: To slickly produced videos…

MAN #1 in ADVERTISEMENT: Have you heard this idea about the Robin Hood bankers tax?

MAN #2 in ADVERTISEMENT: Yes, it’s a sweet little idea taxing the banks to help the poor, but I don’t think it would work. It’s very complicated and would be very tough on the banking sector.

MAN #1 in ADVERTISEMENT: Which has just been given billions of pounds in taxpayer monies to keep it going?

MAN #2 in ADVERTISEMENT: Well yeah, of course.

ROSEANN DEMORO: A very minimum tax could amount to at least $350 billion dollars, that could go back to our communities, that could go back to jobs, that could go back to health care.

BILL MOYERS: Here in the United States, leading the charge in support of the tax is RoseAnn DeMoro and the organization she leads, National Nurses United. It’s the largest registered nurses union in U.S. history.

And with nearly 170,000 members, it’s one of the country’s fastest growing unions. In recent years, the nurses staged some of the most organized and best-publicized campaigns for health care reform. Now they're doing the same for the Robin Hood tax with a fight they call the Main Street Campaign.

Events already have been held in Washington and on Wall Street here in New York…

The May 18th march in Chicago originally was planned to coincide with the G8 summit of the world’s most powerful nations. President Obama then decided to move that meeting to Camp David, so intentionally or not, he’ll be dodging a confrontation with RoseAnn DeMoro and her nurses. RoseAnn, welcome.

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