Ralph Nader explains in this op-ed that Congress should impose a small tax on trades of stocks and other financial products, such as derivatives. The tax would never exceed 1/2 of 1 percent of the value of the traded product, with the hardest hit on short-term investments. Here's an excerpt:
In the debate over the “fiscal cliff,” President Obama and congressional Republicans have returned to the proposals that they were sparring over before the election. They remain at odds over key elements of revenue and spending. Yet both sides are unwilling to consider a minuscule tax on financial transactions that could be a major source of income. A financial transaction tax would apply to purchases and sales of derivatives, options and stocks. The tax would be small, half a penny or less on each dollar of the transaction value, depending on the product. This idea is often called a “speculation tax,” because it would hit hardest at frothy high-volume trading as opposed to sober long-term investment.