Over a thousand activists including members of National Nurses United marched in New York City April 26 to demand the government levy a tiny tax — just 0.5 percent — on speculative financial trades to fund universal health care in the United States. The idea is to add a small sales tax to Wall Street transactions of stocks, dividends and other financial deals, just like the tax ordinary consumers pay when they buy goods at a department store. The proposed tax, just one-half of one percent, would amount to just 50 cents on every $100 worth of financial transactions, but it would add up to a huge amount of money: about $350 billion each year. The tax wouldn’t apply to ordinary consumer transactions like ATM use, debit card purchases or home loans, and traders would be barred from passing the costs of the tax on to consumers. The main targets of the a tax are the big financial firms whose risky trading led to the meltdown of the global economy, like Citibank, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. These four firms alone account for almost a quarter of the entire global market volume on trades of currency. The tiny tax would take advantage of a huge increase in speculative financial activity over the past decade to benefit Americans’ access to health care. A financial transaction tax isn’t a new idea. The U.S. had such a tax in place from 1914 to 1966. The idea of a financial transaction tax is gaining acceptance has been endorsed by conservative presidents in France and Germany, as well as former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan.