Despite being the primary cause of a global recession that plunged 60 million people worldwide into extreme poverty, the financial industry has faced little in the way of repercussions.
More than a thousand nurses from the National Nurses United union and other allied groups marched on the U.S. Treasury and White House today to change that. The march was organized to call on President Obama and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to endorse a global effort to establish a Financial Transactions Tax (FTT), a small sales tax on financial trades that could raise $350 billion in U.S. tax revenue every single year.
Demonstrators first gathered in Lafayette Square, close to the nearby White House. At the rally there, a number of unions leaders and other progressive advocates spoke. Public Citizen president Robert Weissman pointed out that the average American pays sales tax on items like a tube of toothpaste, but that big banks can buy collateralized debt obligations and take bets on the economic futures of entire countries and pay nothing. “We need a change in language,” said consumer advocate Ralph Nader. “This is a sales tax on speculation.” The sizable crowd then marched past the White House and Treasury.
A street performer dressed as Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner posed on the steps of the Bank of America building across from the Treasury, telling protesters that he’s best friends with some other performers dressed as bankers behind him. The march concluded in McPherson Square, where Occupy DC is encamped. ThinkProgress captured video footage from the rally and march. Watch it: