Monday, July 23, 2007

French Think Too Much?

So says the French Government.

In proposing a tax-cut law last week, Finance Minister Christine Lagarde bluntly advised the French people to abandon their "old national habit."

"France is a country that thinks," she told the National Assembly. "There is hardly an ideology that we haven't turned into a theory. We have in our libraries enough to talk about for centuries to come. This is why I would like to tell you: Enough thinking, already Roll up your sleeves."

Apparently part of a policy initiative to cut taxes and raise productivity, the French President is also hoping to lure back some of the wealth that has fled along with its owners to low-tax countries.
In her National Assembly speech, Lagarde said that there should be no shame in personal wealth and that the country needed tax breaks to lure back the rich.

"All these French bankers" working in London and "all these fiscal exiles" taking refuge from French taxes in Belgium "want one thing: to come back to France," she said. "To them, as well as to all our compatriots who are looking for the keys to fiscal paradise, we open our doors."

Indeed, the idea of admitting one's wealth, once considered déclassé, is becoming more acceptable. A cover story in the popular weekly VSD this month included revelations that just a few years ago would have been unthinkable: the 2006 income of leading French personalities (€13 million, or $18 million, for the soccer player Zinédine Zidane, €8.75 million for the rocker Johnny Hallyday, €242,000 for Prime Minister François Fillon, €79,000 for Sarkozy).

It looks like at least one European politician thinks that taxing everything that moves within an inch of its life might not be the best wealth-creation strategy.

HT Cato at Liberty


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