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December 29, 2012

French Court Strikes Down La Patriotisme Economique!

For whom are these vile chains,
These long-prepared irons?
Frenchmen, for us: Ah! What outrage
What fury it must arouse!
It is us they dare plan
To return to the old slavery!

- La Marseillaise

Sacre bleu! Our more evolved European brethren appear determined to keep the Evil Rich from paying their "fair share" of taxes! Who could have predicted such a shocking turn of events?

President Francois Hollande’s 75 percent millionaire-tax is unconstitutional because it fails to guarantee taxpayer equality, France’s top court ruled today.

The tax, one of Hollande’s campaign promises, had become a focal point of discontent among entrepreneurs and other wealth creators, some of whom have quit French shores as a result. The ruling comes as the president seeks to cut France’s public deficit to 3 percent of gross domestic product next year from a projected 4.5 percent this year.

“Politically, this has an impact because it was a symbol for French public opinion, and was considered abroad as the emblem of French tax excess, of French tax hell,” said Dominique Barbet, senior economist at BNP Paribas SA in Paris. “In deficit terms, it’s truly negligible.”

...The constitutional court lowered a series of other tax increases, calling them excessive or saying they also violated equality of treatment for taxpayers. The tax rate on stock options and free shares was lowered to a maximum of 64.5 percent from a rate of as much as 77 percent. The marginal tax rate on a type of private retirement benefit, known as “retraites chapeau,” was cut to a maximum of 68.34 percent from a planned rate in 2013 of 75.34 percent.

Looking at France’s wealth tax, the court said that unrealized gains couldn’t be included in assessing the tax because it ignores the requirement to take into account a payer’s ability to meet his obligations.

We must say that this is a disturbing development. How long can enlightened Western democracies keep spending money they don't have if buzz-killing jurists prevent them from enacting punitive taxes on the rich that don't even cover our existing debts, much less all the glorious new spending they've promised us?

Posted by Cassandra at December 29, 2012 11:10 AM

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Good to see that the French are more Byzantine in their socialism than are us piker Americans.

The French public pension is guaranteed on the basis of the last three salaries (including bonuses). Hence the need for a retraites chapeau. Even an ivory-towered Protector of the Perks of the sans-culottes must see that, eventually, they must run out of money to pay such enormous pensions--they capped it.

On the other hand, we enjoy an enormous advantage over the French: we have a President and a national banker that don't care a red sou about the size of the debt and who are utterly shameless with their legal counterfeiting--I mean government printing presses.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at December 29, 2012 12:23 PM

Eric, you ignorant slut :p

All enlightened persuns know that a government does not need a budget to run. This is because, unlike your average American taxpaying household, governments are not constrained by arbitrary and artificial constraints like math and accounting (or even making sure there's enough money in the till to cash the checks they write). Governments can spend far more than they take in indefinitely, because the patriotic rich (who, somewhat oxymoronically got that way only because they are selfish and grasping and don't care about economic justice) can be relied upon to step forward and volunteer to fork over 100% of their ill gotten gains upon demand.

We need not ask ourselves why anyone would do such a thing when the government has no intention of limiting spending? We don't even need to ask ourselves why it is necessary to tax the bejeezus out of these poor saps when doing so won't even make a dent in the national debt.

The important thing here is fairness. And justice.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 29, 2012 12:38 PM

I am not ignorant....

Why, I read Ezra Klein, who agrees with you all down the line.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at December 29, 2012 12:48 PM

Ben ("Ctrl-P") Bernanke, as they call him over at Zero Hedge.

Posted by: Texan99 at December 29, 2012 06:47 PM

Well, ze Fed, we owe...so overseas the economy goes. (to the tune of 'Heigh Ho')

Posted by: PuffonMeds at December 30, 2012 10:09 PM

Citoyens! To the barricades! The Commune is in danger!

Well, the French are slowly making progress. They used to guillotine all the smart and successful people. Now they just want to tax them to death. Baby steps.

Posted by: a former european at December 31, 2012 02:36 PM

Well, the French are slowly making progress. They used to guillotine all the smart and successful people. Now they just want to tax them to death. Baby steps.

Maybe there's hope for Congress... eventually :p

Posted by: Cassandra at December 31, 2012 03:14 PM