James Tobin

The statement of principles of France’s Parti socialiste (PS) tells us that “To be a socialist is not to be satisfied with the world as it is; it is the will to change society.” It is a mission statement signaling a desire to transform the basic conditions of the country, and as profound economic worries roil Europe, the party seems perfectly positioned to leverage that message in the run-up to next year’s presidential election in France.

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The UK's top financial regulator, Adair Turner, has suggested a tax on all financial transactions around the world. The purpose of this tax, he argues, would be to prevent the return of "business as usual" for the banking sector: "If you want to stop excessive pay in a swollen financial sector you have to reduce the size of that sector or apply special taxes to its pre-remuneration profit." Transaction taxes -- better known as Tobin taxes after Yale economist James Tobin -- have been proposed and implemented in the past to discourage speculative short-term trades and reduce market volatility.

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Smelly Nelly

IN THE SUMMER of 2004, when the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth attacked John Kerry with a series of ads challenging his service in Vietnam, the hapless candidate had a defender across the aisle: John McCain. Shortly after the ads hit the airwaves, the Arizona senator called the smear campaign “dishonest and dishonorable” and urged President Bush to condemn it.

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