A group of charities brought together by film director Richard Curtis, have launched a campaign to make the Tobin tax a reality.
Under the banner ‘The Robin Hood Tax’, the group state that a tax of “0.05% from speculative banking transactions” would raise up to $400 billion every year.
Curtis, the director of Four Weddings and a Funeral and Love Actually, has employed actor and collaborator Bill Nighy to star in a short advert for the Tax, which you can see here along with a vote on the tax.
I can understand why a number of charities would back the initiative. After all, standing up for those less fortunate than the banking industry is a no-brainer. And any method of educating the general public about the financial industry can only be a good thing, but why is the film industry getting involved? It is hardly the bastion of frugality, morality and equality? Film stars are often paid as much if not more that hedge fund managers.
It is also slightly naive. The website claims that the cost would not be passed onto consumers. Everything is passed onto consumers. Banks are public companies, and shareholders want their investments to stay up, and the dividends to keep rolling in. For the bank, this means keeping the same levels of profit as last year, not absorbing the cost of the tax. And how could you keep tabs on the banks? The financial industry is clever enough to slip a 0.05% tax in without their clients noticing it. And prime brokers are hardly in the position to demand their most important hedge fund clients start coughing up more cash if they wish to gamble a bit. More than likely, it will be the pension funds and large institutional investors ending up paying the more educated investors share of the tax.