Germany and France back a financial transactions tax

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I missed this in the New York Times last Friday:

The finance ministers of France and Germany united Friday to raise pressure on EU partners like Italy to back a tax on financial trades that could be used to help the economically disadvantaged.

A letter to the Union’s 25 other finance ministers showed Berlin and Paris working together again despite sharp differences over the number of lenders a single banking supervisor for Europe should regulate, and how soon it should go into operation.

“We strongly believe in the need for a fair contribution from the financial sector to cover the costs of the financial crisis,” Pierre Moscovici of France and Wolfgang Schäuble of Germany wrote in the letter.

Excellent news.

But let's also be clear: the optimal revenue for such a tax would be close to zero. Then harmful financial transactions would not be causing damage to the economy.