More Robin Hood Tax

So, how do I go about setting up a little pressure group/think tank to argue the case against this Robin Hood Tax? It\’s lunatic on the very face of it.

There are extremely strong arguments against it.

How do I organise a whip round of the banks and hedge funds (trivial amounts each: £10k, £20 k each perhaps) to run a campaign against this stupidity?

27 thoughts on “More Robin Hood Tax”

  1. I saw in some of the comments on cif encouragement to go and ‘vote’ at a web site. So I went…but there wasn’t an option for ‘no’.

    Ah well. I did recommend your comment, Tim, and it gave you two recommends – so maybe that’s where my unwanted vote ended up.

    Good luck with the campaign. Looking at the Guardian comments, all chortling about what a no-brainer this tax is, I fear the no-brains might win it.

  2. what are your arguments against it? If it is that the tax will destroy the overnight lending market, that could be seen as a feature, not a bug. Anything else? (other than it blatantly won’t raise as much money as advertised)

    Tim adds: Closing the overnight markets is a plus? Seriously? We’ve just spend billions on ensuring that they stay open! (The overnight markets seizing up was one of the major worries that would crash the entire system). Plus, you also close down the futures and options markets (the tax is based upon nominal value, not value of the transaction itself).

  3. I love the quote on the website “but it all sounds too good to be true!”
    Sounds suspiciously like the guy selling pyramid schemes at three in the morning on cable.
    “Create 250,000,000,000 dollars without having to do any work and without anyone losing any money!” Wow Bill, you’re a genius. Your skills are so wasted in the cinema.

  4. Actually, you can vote against it here:

    Not easy to find, though, and as there will be very few contrary bastards like me out there suffciently exercised to trawl through the pro-tax web site just to vote against it…there’s probably a danger of ‘no’ votes lending a spurious democratic sheen to the massive ‘yes’ they will record.

    Still I voted against anyway. Me and 28 others…

    “And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day,I said fifty people a day walking in singin a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and walking out? And friends they may think it’s a movement.”

  5. Simple way of proceeding – campaign AGAINST this on twitter using their own tag, I can’t find it anymore on their horrendously constructed el cheapo site, but there is one. Vote early and often. Please post the tag if you find it.
    I vote for a 1 cent tax on bagels to raise cash for them to hire a web designer.

  6. Tim,

    I know it’s presumptuous of me, but can I make some suggestions?

    If you do campaign against this tax, don’t take the stance that people who support it are idiots. Give me a few hours and I could assemble a very long list of economists who are sympathetic to it, and who certainly aren’t idiots.

    Also, don’t take the stance that nothing needs to be done, there is no case for getting the financial sector to contribute more tax, nor is there a case for trying to curb dangerous behaviour in the sector. I don’t think you want to find yourself arguing the status-quo is OK.

    Better to argue that isn’t the right move, that it won’t work as intended, and that there are more useful tax ideas out there.

  7. [of course you can do the above, and still point out the idiocy of some of the claims being made by the Robin Hood campaigners]

  8. But Tim does think Terry Smith needs to be taught lessons about finance, and he’s the man to do it – so that’s not going to be easy, is it?

  9. Ooops, it seems you can vote more than once on the website (hat-tip FlateEric) by using the “back” command, but I’m sure we are all to responsible to engage in any multi-clicking activity.

  10. Really enjoying the site. Always wondered where I needed to go to disparage good ideas in the name of rhetoric filled selfishness.

    I love the fact that the idea is so strong you’ve resorted to criticising the technology. It gives me faith in your dispassion.

    Oh, how they laughed.

  11. Pingback: Robin Hood Tax: the right-wing blogosphere gets to work | ToUChstone blog: A public policy blog from the TUC

  12. It’s probably been mentioned before but this whole “Robin Hood” thing is a huge misnomer.

    The lefties would love to portray Mr Hood as some sort of tax and spend socialist robbing from the rich to give to the poor. The truth (in so much as one can speak the truth about a myth) is Robin Hood robbed the taxman and gave the money back to the taxpayers.

    He wasn’t a leftie, he was a bloody libertarian.

  13. There’s a much more sensible proposal about: a celebrity tax! Since celebrities really are completely useless, should have no effect on the real economy…

  14. Why is it so stupid? Not one comment so far has actually touched on why it is so ridiculous. Because to me it isn’t. It makes a lot of sense. I’m not a lunatic or idiot, nor am I very well versed in finance and economics. I’m not part of a left-wing conspiracy that wants to undermine our current financial model. I just want you to give us some well reasoned arguments for why it wouldn’t be a good idea.
    You need to stop the patronising language and explain us your paradigm. Your position is far from obvious.

  15. So, Mr. Worstall, this is your idea of ‘balanced journalism’! Just as I expected…

    If you and your pals here have got any sense of morality, decency and/or honesty, you’ll let everyone know;

    1. how much of your investment portfolios are tied up in the international money markets and associated trades.

    2. how much gross UK Income Tax (or in your home country) you pay – as a percentage of your gross income.

    Come on Tim & pals, show a bit of backbone!

    Just let me know the figures, and I’ll gladly pass it on to everyone I think would be interested in your impartiality as a Journos and commentators…. I’ll take that little task on for you; I wouldn’t like to see all you poor souls over- burdened with any extra work!

    I await your reply with a trembling heart!



  16. Timdifano – your chums at Goldman Sachs have beaten you to it…. one of the little tinkers wrote a little piece of software that posted aro9und 1700 ‘No’ votes in less than 20 minutes… and once of his pals used the same or something similar to register another 300+…

    And this was probably why you couldn’t vote ‘No’, FlateEric…..

    I guess neither of you were taught the difference between right and wrong by your parents… or are you just ‘rebelling’ against them, you naughty little boys!?

    Oh what fun you and your little chums are having! 😀

  17. The only thing the rank and file have to fear from a Robin Hood Tax is that the financial institutions will charge us to cover their cost of collecting and paying it. They already charge retail customers and SMEs at utterly ridiculous levels.

    Mr Worstall, what is the problem with redress? If the City bubble (or Wall Street or wherever) operated entirely in isolation without impacting the rest of us then I would say carry on regardless.

    But it doesn’t, it has impacts all over. If the money boys want rescuing every time they lose the plot, then the rest of the world needs something in return. If they want to play with the big toys (like national and regional economies) then there has to be a price. Giving a little back a few virtual pennies seems to be quite a small price.

    Just to clarify on the point of Robin Hood, for an earlier and ill-informed correspondent. According to legend, he didn’t just rob the tax collectors, but the rent collectors and the landowners. The doesn’t sound like the any libertarian I’ve ever come across.

  18. The banks have been bailed out by the taxpayers whilst those same taxpayers have been loosing their jobs and often their homes whilst footing the bill for fat cat bonuses. Do enlighten me as to what is just and fair about that!

    I for one am for the libertarian if it gives people back the power over how their tax money is spent, given the shambles of this government and it’s mismanagement of OUR money. The banks, remember, have OUR money too I think we should have some bloody say in how that is managed (so far about as well as the government given the bailout needed).

    Most here are blind sighted by their own self greed, why am I not surprised you would be so against something that could do so much good in reducing poverty, simply not part of you elitist agenda now is it?!

  19. Hahahaha!!!!

    Busy protecting your own self interest as usual eh Worst-of-all?

    Of course you are, your type are adept at it….
    (from YOUR profile at the Guardian)
    “Tim Worstall is a blogger, freelance journo and Fellow at the Adam Smtih Institute. His day job is the wholesale supply of various exotic metals. In that latter occupation he has been known to subsidise research into fuel cells, purely on the grounds of enlightened self interest of course, for such cells use the materials he sells”

    Speaks volumes about your moral & ethical health, doesn’t it?

  20. What was the name of the King who tried to hold back the tide? Well you should as you have adopted his mantle. This tax is only the beginning of a great social change in how money is used. About time too.

  21. Tim if it sounds too good to be true it generally is. It wont happen because appart from closing the intra day money markets where a 0.05 pct tax on a nominal transaction for one day between banks or business now ,for say 10 mio is 275 pounds thats one days worth of interest at around 1 pct for 1 day! so this tax will mean 5,000 pounds on this transaction thats higher than any loan shark in the UK. But it will also close down the Government Debt markets because the no Banks or investors will buy UKs debt if they are penalised at 0.05 on the nominal every time they want to trade or get out of a position making therefore a penal tax rate of around 185 pct for one day!because this tax penalises margins at anything between 5 times and 100 times markets, these markets will close down in the UK. We have a tax on UK equities but guess what the Banks dont actually pay it also one doesnt have a choice, whereas with foreign exchange and money markets they do. History already has examples Sweden did something similar and had to repeal the tax as 95 pct migrate abroad. The US also unilateraly imposed a tax on their Eurobond markets and repealed it but guess what it came to london never to return. So with unemployment and a huge deficit I dont think this is a great idea rather like going into a marathon and just before deciding to shoot your foot!

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