For years, Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio has been the primary sponsor of a bill that would impose a tax on certain stock transactions in excess of $100,000 a year as a way of balancing the budget and targeting speculators.  The current version of the bill, HR 3313, or "The Wall Street Trading and Speculators Tax Act, faces opposition from Wall Street, which has never viewed DeFazio as sympathetic.

But his idea, which would raise 350 billion dollars over eight years, according to a Congressional committee, is now getting support from all corners of the world. In a story in today's New York Times, the idea of a financial transaction tax, or a "Robin Hood" tax, is being championed by Bill Gates, George Soros, Al Gore, Pope Benedict XVI and the new Prime Minister of Italy.