Spitzer Here is the idea: A tax of less than half a percent on every $100 of stock sales or sales of other financial instruments including bonds, derivatives, and options. The tax could raise anywhere from $170 billion to $350 billion per year depending how it was applied. Extend that over 10 years, and we are raising almost what the White House and Republicans agree needs to be raised in order to accomplish the objectives of a grand bargain. But there is an added benefit here: Trading in the equity and debt markets has gone wild over the past few years. High-speed trading and speculation have overtaken the economically legitimate reasons for our desire to have highly liquid markets: the capacity to raise capital and then allocate it efficiently among sectors and companies. The trading that has emerged over the past few years is not serving that purposeit is a casino enterprise driven by hidden pools and computer algorithms that do not seek to hold capital for longer than an instant. We are all used to paying a sales tax when we buy thingsalmost 9 percent here in New York City. The application of this concept to the financial sector could solve our need for revenue, bring some sanity back into the financial sector, and give us a way to raise the revenue we need to run the government in a fiscally responsible way. Maybe this is the old idea that we need folks in D.C. to pay attention to again.