Harry Potter, Walking Dead celebrities team up to promote Wall Street tax
Forget flesh-eating zombies and Lord Voldemort, celebrities seen in Harry Potter movies and the Walking Dead TV show are now going up against some real power.
In a short film released February 18, some big film stars promote a financial transaction tax, which Wall Street lobbyists and their European counterparts fiercely oppose.
The three-minute film’s director is David Yates, who made the last four Harry Potter movies. Actors include: Andrew Lincoln (star zombie-fighter on the hit AMC TV show “The Walking Dead”), Bill Nighy (“The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and “Love, Actually”), Javier Cámara (star of Pedro Almodóvar films “Talk to Her” and “Bad Education”), Clémence Poésy (“Harry Potter”), and Heike Makatsch (“Love, Actually”).
The satiric video can be viewed at http://www.robinhoodtax.org/millionstrong
Set 10 years in the future, with Lincoln anchoring a newscast looking back at the impact of the tax, the video features bankers from Spain, Germany, and France boast about how European financial transaction tax has generated revenues to help fund public services in their countries and combat poverty and climate change.
Left behind in the video is a British banker (Nighy) shamed over his country’s failure to implement the tax.
But the embarrassment could be equally extended to the U.S. where opposition from Wall Street lobbyists, and their influence in the Obama administration and Congress has held up enactment of a similar Wall Street tax on the U.S.
A bill introduced by Rep. Keith Ellison, HR 1579, also known as the Inclusive Prosperity Act, could generate hundreds of billions of dollars every year to help fund jobs at living wages, health care for all, eradication of student debt, and fighting HIV/AIDS, poverty and the climate crisis.
HR 1579 proposes tax rates of 0.5% on stock, 0.1% on bond, and 0.005% on derivative trades, with an offset for taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes under $50,000 per individual or $75,000 per family.
For Europeans, the video is timed to influence the final phase of negotiations over a regional financial transaction tax in Europe.
In January 2013, 11 EU member states formed a “coalition of the willing” to coordinate such a tax. These countries include: Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia and Slovakia. The European Union President has identified May 6, 2014 as the expected date for a final agreement.
The international aid agency Oxfam helped produce the film and is hosting a “million strong” petition that would make the tax the most popular in history. For four years, Oxfam and a wide range of labor, environmental, public health, and other civil society groups around the world have worked to advance proposals for the financial transaction tax.
Beyond the revenue benefits, many financial experts argue that the tax would help curb dangerous short-term speculation. A letter signed by more than 50 financial professionals states “These taxes will rebalance financial markets away from a short-term trading mentality that has contributed to instability in our financial markets.”
In a January 2013 poll conducted by Hart Research, 62% of Americans approved of a “small tax on all stock/bond/market trades.”
QUOTES BY THE DIRECTOR & THE ACTORS
Director David Yates, best known for directing the final four films in the Harry Potter series, said: "I agreed to direct the film because the Robin Hood Tax is a simple yet brilliant idea. We need to learn the lessons of the financial crisis and ensure that banks and hedge funds work in the interests of society not the other way around."
Andrew Lincoln, star of TV’s the Walking Dead, said: "After six years of shaky recovery and decreasing living standards, it is time for our leaders to be ambitious and act in the interest of the people and the planet.
"It is rare that a tax could garner such incredible support from people across Europe, but the Robin Hood Tax is an obviously fair way to ensure that those responsible for the economic crisis pay to clear up the mess it caused.”
Clémence Poesy, of Harry Potter and In Bruges fame, said: “If France and the other ten countries seriously considering going ahead with the tax decide to do so, up to 37 billion euros could be raised each year. Spending this money on the fight against poverty, including the worldwide AIDS pandemic, and climate change is the right thing to do.”
Bill Nighy, star of Love Actually and Pirates of the Caribbean, said: “Four years after the launch of the Robin Hood Tax campaign, this tiny tax that could do so much good is on the verge of becoming a reality. France, Germany and nine other European countries are about to introduce it. It would be deeply regrettable if the rest of the world were caught on the wrong side of history.”
“Introducing the tax alone will not be enough, the billions it will raise need to be invested in tackling poverty at home and abroad and fighting climate change.”
Javier Cámara, star of a Bad Education and I’m So Excited, said: “With up to eight million Spaniards expected to fall into poverty by 2025, the Robin Hood tax presents an opportunity to alleviate the worst suffering of those not just in Europe, but around the world as well. ”
Heike Makatsch, who starred alongside Nighy in Love Actually, said: “European leaders have spent long-enough talking about the Robin Hood Tax. It is now time to get serious, push aside the discredited arguments against the tax from the financial lobby and implement a fair tax which could help millions of people across Europe and in the developing world.”