AIDS Issues Update Blog

Dispatches from the fight against homelessness and AIDS

Can the Robin Hood Tax Meet the Needs of PLWA if the Sequestration Cuts Happen?

Posted by Sunny Bjerk , September 20, 2012

Can the Robin Hood Tax Meet the Needs of PLWA if the Sequestration Cuts Happen?

Last Friday, the White House released their official Sequestration Report, which showed that HOPWA would receive a $27 million gash in funding if Congress and the President cannot reach an agreement on the budget and automatic cuts take place.

But this is only half of the picture, and the full picture looks pretty bleak. In addition to the $27 million that could be cut from HOPWA, other domestic AIDS programs are also being cut.

According to the report, the CDC HIV Prevention program will lose $64 million in funding; the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program will lose an astounding $196 million; the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP and whose list has recently dropped to 88 people across the country) will lose a disheartening $77 million, and the National Institutes of Health AIDS Research will lose $251 million in funding.

Did you get all that? In total, domestic AIDS research, treatment, services, and assistance will lose an astounding $538 million in funding cuts should the sequestration go through. The AIDS Institute stepped in and called on House of Representative speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, among others, to reach an agreement that won’t further devastate the country’s HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment efforts.

But the recent hope on the horizon—aside from the fact that the Sequestration cuts are not guaranteed—is the recent news that 6 Congressional members have co-sponsored and endorsed a tax on Wall Street transactions to help fund AIDS treatments, Medicaid, housing assistance to low-income households, and more.

That’s right—the Robin Hood tax is no longer a dream. After protesting last World AIDS Day, calling for this exact same tax on Wall Street, and marching in the We Can End AIDS march that demanded—among other things—that the country create a tax on trading stock, we were heard.

This bill could be a rallying achievement should a budget agreement isn’t reached. According to figures released in an article by The Nation, the Robin Hood tax would generate upwards of $350 billion. The bill’s official name and number, the Inclusive Prosperity Act, HR 6411, would create a Hood Tax, a 0.5% tax on the trading of stocks—50 cents per every $100 of trades—and would be even lower for transactions for bonds and other types of capital. The goal of the tax is to reduce the high-risk, high-profit trading that can lead to massive losses and financial meltdowns.

Let’s just hope, however, that we won’t have to look for a $538 million-dollar funding source come January 2013 for our country’s HIV/AIDS services and programs.

Stay tuned.

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