An Easy Grab

A proposal for a higher tax on securities trading

Ever since George Bush quietly acknowledged last month that "increased tax revenues" would be necessary to reduce the budget deficit, everyone in Washington has been running for cover. No wonder. Louisiana's legendary Russell Long once described raising taxes as a game of "don't tax me, don't tax thee, tax that fellow behind the tree."

Last week Wall Street was wondering whether it was the fellow behind the tree. Bush Administration officials floated the idea that they might consider raising the tiny tax on stock and bond transactions -- one-third of 1% -- to help erase the deficit. The leak looked serious...