FRANCE: The Revolt Over Reform

The usually sedate French National Assembly has lately become a scene of turmoil and dissension. Cabals of Deputies huddle up and down the splendid baronial halls. Ministers discuss the latest parliamentary tricks. The visitors' gallery is packed. Reason for all the drama: President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing's proposed capital gains tax.

Giscard's measure, formally before the National Assembly after two years of preparation, is a favored part of his much-publicized program to reform France into an "advanced liberal society." It is also his first move to touch the well-guarded French pocketbook. Giscard is...