Columnist Jim McTague discusses the global debate about levying a tax on financial transactions. Some officials in Europe, notably French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, are pressing for the tax, while others, including U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, oppose it. In the U.S., President Barack Obama has voiced opposition to the idea, while two lawmakers are trying to gain support for it. Experts have warned about unintended consequences of a financial-transaction tax.

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