Tag Archive for: FTT


How a small financial transaction tax might be used to help us end child slavery and the worst forms of child labor in the next nine years

By Reid Maki

The UN has set a very ambitious goal—one of the sustainable development goals adopted last year—of eliminating child labor, child slavery, forced child labor, and the use of child soldiers in the next nine years. It’s daunting to think about. Nearly 170 million children remain in child labor despite a one-third reduction in the number of children trapped in child labor over the last 15 years. Eighty-five million children remain in hazardous child labor, working in brothels, mines, and places no child should be sent. Nearly six million children remain in child slavery.

How is the world to achieve this laudable, essential goal? The answer is it cannot—not without a significant infusion of resources. More than 120 million children who should be in school are not. A billion children are illiterate. Functioning schools are a critical element in the battle against child labor and child slavery. In West Africa, where two million plus children toil on cocoa plantations to harvest the main ingredient in chocolate, more than 3,000 schools are needed to provide children with educational alternatives to hazardous work.

"The Same Heart" is a documentary film exploring the need for revenues to protect children and how a financial transaction tax might work.

“The Same Heart” is a documentary film exploring the need for revenues to protect children and how a financial transaction tax might work.

Clearly, hundreds of billions of dollars are needed over the next nine years. Is the global community likely to provide this funding? Probably not, unless there are new revenue sources from which they can draw the money from.

Fortunately, the European Community and the US Congress is working on a new revenue source: a financial transaction tax that would be applied to all financial transactions like stock or derivative trades and bond purchases. Because there are trillions of such trades each year in US markets alone, even a tiny tax ranging from one-tenth of one percent to a half percent could raise tens of billions of dollars. The Inclusive Prosperity Act in Congress by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Senator Barry Sanders (I-VT) hopes to do just that, and the Child Labor Coalition, which NCL co-chairs, helped organize a congressional briefing in September to help promote the concept.

Globally, FTTs might raise up to $300 billion a year. The European community is in various stages of implementing an FTT in over 10 countries. The idea is not new. The US had an FTT in the past and continues to pay for the Securities and Exchange Commission with a very tiny FTT. Japan successfully raised billions with an FTT in the 1990s before conservative forces led them to abandon the tax.

An FTT would make our tax system more equitable.

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Investing in Our Future, One Transaction at a Time—How a Financial Transaction (FTT) tax would work–from the experts

Sarah Anderson, Director of Global Economy Project, Inst. for Policy Studies:

Many countries already have some form of a financial transaction tax, including those with strong and fast-growing financial markets, such as the UK, South Africa, Hong Kong, Singapore, Switzerland, and India. Recently, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Austria, Portugal, Greece, Slovakia and Slovenia agreed on the range of financial assets that will be taxed and how the revenue will be captured for what will be the first regional financial transaction tax.

Dean Baker, Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research:

Even small taxes on trading can raise large amounts of money. The Joint Economic Committee calculated that a tax of just 0.03 percent imposed on all financial transactions could raise more than $40 billion a year. A scaled tax with a rate of 0.2 percent on stock trades, and 0.01 percent on derivatives, could raise more than $110 billion a year. Several bills are working their way through Congress. Worldwide, FTTs have the potential to raise up to $300 billion in annual revenue.

Susan Harley, Deputy Director, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch Division:

The tax will help avoid market meltdowns by cutting the profit margins of high-frequency trading. Computerized trading by milliseconds is not long-term, job creating capital investment—it’s gambling with the integrity of the market–more than once computer algorithms have caused the market to freefall.

Shane Larson, Legislative Director for Communications Workers of America:

CWA recently commissioned public opinion polling on the issues that are part of the Take on Wall Street campaign. We found a huge amount of support from average Americans for policies that close loopholes and make our tax code fairer. Wall Street traders make massive profits, and we should focus on making those folks pay their fair share of taxes, instead of squeezing the middle-class and American workers.

Len Morris, director of The Same Heart:

In the US, almost 15 million children live in poverty and 2.5 million children experience homelessness each year. A world where one child in three lacks adequate shelter, one in five lacks clean drinking water, one in seven lacks access to health care, is a world where children live in crisis daily. We need new revenue sources to meet these needs.

Sally Greenberg, Director of the National Consumers League and Co-Chair of the Child Labor Coalition:

More than 120 million children around the world who want to go to school cannot. Revenues raised from an FTT could allow every child to go to school, to be healthy, to be free from many preventable diseases, to be fed, and to be free from the worst forms of child labor.

Several FTT bills have been introduced in Congress, including bills by Rep. DeFazio (H.R. 5745), Rep. Ellison (H.R. 1464), and Senator Sanders (S. 1371)

Please view this special clip of “The Same Heart” documentary exploring the concept of an FTT and what it might accomplish.

"The Same Heart" is a documentary film exploring the need for revenues to protect children and how a financial transaction tax might work.

“The Same Heart” is a documentary film exploring the need for revenues to protect children and how a financial transaction tax might work.