Europeans Push Global Tax to Fund Poverty-Reduction

A group of 60 nations will meet next week at the United Nations to push for a tax on foreign currency transactions as a way to generate revenue to meet global poverty-reduction goals, including “climate change” mitigation. Spearheaded by European Union countries, the so-called “innovative financing” proposal envisages a tax of 0.005 percent (five cents per $1,000), which experts estimate could produce more than $30 billion a year worldwide for priority causes.

World leaders are scheduled to hold a Sept. 21-23 summit at U.N. headquarters to review progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight specific targets to cut poverty and disease by 2015, in line with a pledge taken by U.N. member states in 2000.

The Leading Group on Innovative Financing for Development, comprising 60 countries – the United States is not a member – as well as 15 international institutions and several dozen non-governmental organizations (NGOs), sees the event as a crucial opportunity to promote the tax proposal, and it will meet on the summit sidelines next Tuesday.

Development NGOs have been promoting the idea of a Tobin tax – or as some have dubbed it, a “Robin Hood tax” – for years, with anti-globalization groups, aid agencies, religious organizations and environmental advocacy groups in Europe in particular throwing their weight behind it. Banking and business sectors have generally been opposed.


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