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November 2011

Bill Gates pushes transaction tax to help raise money to fight global poverty, improve global health

November 7, 2011 --  This week, Bill Gates is expected to urge the Group of 20 (G20) to adopt a transaction tax on the trading of bonds and shares in order to raise nearly $50 billion a year to fight global poverty, including $11 billion for health aid projects. He believes this type of funding would help G20 countries still meet their pledges of aid to those in need around the globe.

“It is very plausible that certain kinds of FTTs [financial transaction taxes] could work. I am lending some credibility to that. This money could be well spent and make a difference,” Gates said. "Aid does work. Deaths go down when vaccines are properly delivered,” he continued, referencing results that financial help provided over the last decade.

The financial transaction tax (FTT), also referred to as a “Robin Hood” tax, is expected to be a hard sell in the United States. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) have introduced legislation that institutes a 0.03 percent transaction tax on stocks, bonds, and derivatives transactions. However, the bill’s outlook remains unclear.

Last week, Gates authored an op-ed in the Washington Post pushing for increased innovation to help development and stressing the global benefits of foreign aid. Gates cited the success of vaccines with saving millions of children from disease as one example of how aid is effective.

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