Nurses to Press Congress September 1st to Tax Wall Street to Heal America

As Congress and the White House continue to push an agenda of more deep cuts in spending at a time an economic crisis that is spinning out of control, registered nurses across the country will converge on some 60 Congress members in their local district offices September 1  to demand new priorities that help Main Street, not Wall Street.

RNs will hold soup kitchens, food drives, community speak outs, street theater, and other actions to call on legislators, Republicans and Democrats alike, to sign a pledge to “support a Wall Street transaction tax that will raise sufficient revenue to make Wall Street pay for the devastation it has caused on Main Street.”  In many locales we will be joined by many community and labor activists.

One of the largest actions will be a soup kitchen outside the federal building in San Francisco. Other events are planned throughout the state, and nation, in big cities like Chicago and Boston, and smaller towns like Corpus Christi, TX., Marquette, MI., and Dayton, OH. (See a complete list here)

Why nurses? Because like so many other Americans, nurses are alarmed at the economic calamity affecting patients and communities and the apparent indifference by so many in Washington.

Watch a new video we’ve produced that depicts the Wall Street-made debacle.

Every day nurses see broad declines in health and living standards that are a direct result of our patients and our own families struggling with lack of jobs, un-payable medical bills, hunger and homelessness, and they are not going to let people suffer in silence any more.

In recent months, we have been hearing from nurses and other working people across our country providing painful accounts of what is now all too common.

“I see people declining treatment or a transplant because they can’t afford the post-treatment care,” writes a Massachusetts nurse. “People are taking the option of letting the disease kill them instead of getting the treatment because they can’t afford it and there’s no support.”

“My income today, when combined with my wife’s full-time income and adjusted for inflation is actually less than the income my father earned by himself over 40 years ago. The middle class standard of living of living has been allowed to be sold out in the name of the almighty quarterly dividend,” says a North Carolina social worker.

“I retired from the St. Louis Fire Department in 2003. My wife retired in ’06. We sold our home of 22 years and bought a home 125 miles away. We tried to get medical insurance but I had a pre-existing condition, so you know the story. When the economy tanked due to Wall Street and corrupt government, my retirement fund was gone. We (had to) move back to St. Louis where I found a job and my wife now watches four kids five days a week and we still have no medical insurance, which means the first time we get sick we are bankrupt and may lose everything we worked for, for our whole lives. And no one is still being held accountable for this mess. Why Not?” asks a Missouri fire fighter.

Well, we say it is time to hold people accountable.

Starting with the Wall Street high rollers who created the economic disaster through reckless gambling with our mortgages and other financial speculation.

We’re calling for a tax on Wall Street trading of stocks, bonds, derivatives, currencies, credit default swaps, that could raise hundreds of billions of dollars to pay for the good jobs, healthcare, education, and housing so desperately needed on Main Street.

Such a tax has become an international norm, embraced by even conservative leaders in other countries. French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently announced plans to introduce a similar tax in the 27 nations of the European Community.

We also intend to hold the politicians accountable. That’s what we’ll be doing when we visit legislative offices on September 1. We’re carrying a message that those who created this crisis and who hold so much of the nation’s wealth must start contributing to rebuild our nation, and we are going to work tirelessly to encourage the American people to reclaim our future.