...is shown to us here by the Austrian Robert Murphy (if he was not joking, that is). The video below is rather old now, but was an eloquent little campaign video with Richard Curtis and Bill Nighy for the Robin Hood Tax, a tax on bank transactions proposed after the great financial crisis and bank bailouts. (As an aside, Bill Nighy is such a great actor!)
Murphy complains that “They’re trying to simultaneously make it look like (a) the banks won’t be taxed a lot and (b) the banks will be taxed a lot.” But any honest reading of it would be this: it sounds big, but, comparatively speaking, isn’t really for the banks themselves that are such wealthy institutions; it is big, comparatively speaking, in terms of what could be done with the money. The tax on certain speculative transactions would be 0.05% – not even 1%.
Curiously, although it is not the issue I am really raising above, there is a heterodox Keynesian/MMT objection to the Robin Hood tax, as argued by Bill Mitchell here, not because taxing destabilising speculative transactions is a bad thing (it certainly is a good thing), but because the Robin Hood tax might (1) tax certain useful speculative activities as well and (2) in the grand scheme of things, in terms of effective measures that could solve the underlying economic problems, it is a rather mild idea, not radical enough.