Make Wall Street Bail Itself Out with a Robin Hood Tax

In popular culture, Robin Hood protects the poor with the wealth of the rich.

Target: Treasury Secretary, Jacob J Lew

Goal: Ensure that Wall Street, not the taxpayer, pays for its next bailout.

A tiny tax, half a percent, levied on Wall Street transactions would total hundreds of billions of dollars every year and ensure that Wall Street pays for its next bailout. In 2008, Main Street America bailed out Wall Street, but received little relief for its own struggles. What was done made matters worse. The perpetrators of a near- economic catastrophe were never punished for nearly bringing down the nation’s economy, so they had no incentive to change their behavior. Instead, they’ve since spent vast sums to lobby against any controls over future behavior. One has to worry if they’ve been so spoiled with privilege they expect to get bailed out again.

A financial transaction tax or Robin Hood tax is a sane solution for an insane problem. Speculators will not voluntarily curb the level of their own speculation and are prone to creating bubbles that ultimately explode. They also use all their power to block any attempt to curb their own recklessness because they know they’re considered too important to fail. They must be forced to bail themselves out of their next crash and a very small tax on transactions would make that possible. The tax would be collected electronically. The systems needed for collecting the tax are already in place and collection would be relatively easy to enforce.

It’s bad enough that the people who caused so much pain and suffering for the majority of the country were the only people government saved. Government was so horrified at the prospect of an economic depression, they pumped money into the very people who caused the problem. At the very least, a Robin Hood tax would ensure that Wall Street paid the bill for its own bailout the next time it crashes.


Dear Treasury Secretary Lew,

Everyone knows that the people who caused the 2008 economic meltdown were the only ones who were bailed out and that’s got to be the last time that happens. If Wall Street will not control its own speculation and it’s going to be considered too big to fail, it must be responsible for its own cleanup. There’s a logical way to raise this money with a very small transaction tax.

Wall Street became even wealthier after the economic crash because their recovery was guaranteed. In contrast, most people continued to suffer long after the financial district was enjoying mammoth bonuses. At the very least, we must guarantee the taxpayer won’t be billed the next time the financial world implodes by levying a Robin Hood tax on all transactions.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Chordboard

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