Taxing the Rich in France
….Why would any Frenchman, especially France’s richest (Arnault is worth some $41 billion thanks to LVMH’s burgeoning sales in Asia, which makes him the world’s fourth most prosperous earner) choose to acquire another form of identity? Here’s a hint. Both during his campaign and after winning the French presidency, François Hollande remained consistent: he was, he insisted, going to tax the wealthy 75 percent on any revenue exceeding 1 million euros.
Hollande, a Socialist, had well before the election declared his long standing distaste for the rich, argued in just those terms, and now that he’s victorious he proposes to gratify that prejudice by appropriating most of their earnings in order cut France’s public deficit to 3 percent of economic output.
Many have been those who questioned the wisdom of soaking the successful. In June, the UK’s prime minister, David Cameron, infuriated his French counterpart (not for the first time) by promising a British safe haven (actually he used the term “red carpet”) for those Frenchmen who chose self-imposed exile. And it’s worthy of note that Hollande himself couldn’t have been unaware of the intentions of some of France’s wealthiest. Especially Arnault, who effectively put his own country on notice. Over three decades ago, during the presidency of François Mitterand (France’s last socialist head of state), Arnault actually emigrated to the United States, choosing to build condominiums in Florida rather than cough up cash in Paris.