Hollande Rebuked

French president François Hollande is famous—or infamous—for wanting to impose a 75% tax on French millionaires. But the French Constitutional Court ruled that the tax is unconstitutional because it does not guarantee taxpayer equality. The ruling comes as a stunning political blow to the Hollande government, which made the tax a centerpiece of its economic and fiscal policies, but even more embarrassing than the ruling is the revelation—contained within the story—that when it comes to actually raising revenue, the tax “is truly negligible.”

This of course indicates that Hollande imposed the tax not because he thought that it would improve France’s fiscal situation, but rather because he wanted to engage in class warfare for purely political reasons. I suppose that the day may come when I grow numb to this kind of massive cynicism, but that day has not yet arrived.

One can only imagine how many class warriors in the United States—some of them as cynical as the people who staff Hollande’s government—are disappointed with the decision of the French Constitutional Court. And one can only imagine how many of those people work at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

  1. BlueAnt

    From what I can tell, the problem the court had was that there were different levels of taxation applied to individuals and households, so that “two households with the same total revenue could end up paying different rates depending on how earnings are divided among members of those households.”

    That sounds less like a moral rebuke than a technical slip-up.  

    I’ll bet you all the francs in my pocket, against all the euros in yours, that Hollande will just re-write the tax to increase the 4% high earner tax on households to the 18% individual level.  That should clear the fairness hurdle, and squeeze out a bit more revenue (in theory).

  2. EThompson

    This update is definitely in contention for Troy Senik’s  Best Political Development of the Year.

  3. Tennessee Patriot
    One can only imagine how many class warriors in the United States—some of them as cynical as the people who staff Hollande’s government—are disappointed with the decision of the French Constitutional Court. And one can only imagine how many of those people work at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. · · 1 hour ago

    I doubt if Obama is disappointed- he knows John Roberts and his Supreme Court is more compliant than the French court.

  4. ParisParamus

    Come on.  All the cour did was, in effect, find the “marriage penalty” unconstitutional. They’ll fix the disparity within a week and re-pass the legislation.

  5. Eeyore
    ParisParamus: They’ll fix the disparity within a week and re-pass the legislation.

    Probably right. But I like to imagine screams of “Sacré Bleu!” in the Oval Office, other bleu language, the throwing about of various breakable crockery. “Traîtres à la cause!”

  6. Howellis

    The tiny amount of revenue the high tax rate was going to provide is the main point.  In fact, it’s likely that the tax rate would actually reduce revenue, when all its consequences are ultimately factored in.

  7. flownover

    To the ramparts then !

    I’ll sharpen the caviar spoons and chill some bubbly. Someone needs to load those loathsome assault rifles so we can pin down the revenuers .

  8. Eeyore
    Paul DeRocco

    As rich people (read capital) began to flee, Hollande may be grateful for a way to take back a boneheaded move that even he by now must know would have been bad for the economy he’s supposed to be in charge of. Now he can complain bitterly about the court, for the benefit of his commie base, and turn his attention to less extreme measures

    Being a socialist means never having to say you were wrong (or sorry) about economics. Somebody didn’t do it right, the rich manipulated the rules, whatever. The bitter complaining, however, is de rigueur.

    Remember, Paul, Obama is proud of his economic prowess and policies.

  9. Bullwinkle

    I find the most delicious irony of the whole thing is that the court struck it down “because it does not guarantee taxpayer equality.” 

  10. Percival
    flownover: To the ramparts then !

    I’ll sharpen the caviar spoons and chill some bubbly. Someone needs to load those loathsome assault rifles so we can pin down the revenuers . · 38 minutes ago

    Careful. there. flownover.

    Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors… and miss. 

    – Robert Heinlein

  11. Keith Preston

    If a news event falls in the forest, and no media report it, did it really happen?

    No one will know…1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has nothing to fear.

  12. RushBabe49

    The tax has already had a negative effect, with wealthy Frenchmen like Gerard Depardieu Depart-ing for neighboring, lower-tax places.  I always like to ask: If you knew that the government would confiscate 75% of what you earned, would you work? ’nuff said.

  13. Paul DeRocco
    ParisParamus: Come on.  All the cour did was, in effect, find the “marriage penalty” unconstitutional. They’ll fix the disparity within a week and re-pass the legislation.

    I’m not so sure. As rich people (read capital) began to flee, Hollande may be grateful for a way to take back a boneheaded move that even he by now must know would have been bad for the economy he’s supposed to be in charge of. Now he can complain bitterly about the court, for the benefit of his commie base, and turn his attention to less extreme measures.

  14. Pejman Yousefzadeh
    C

    Precisely.

    Howellis: The tiny amount of revenue the high tax rate was going to provide is the main point.  In fact, it’s likely that the tax rate would actually reduce revenue, when all its consequences are ultimately factored in. · 5 hours ago

  15. RushBabe49

    Just as with Obama’s insistence on higher tax rates for the “rich”, Hollande’s confiscatory rate was designed to punish the rich, not get money from them.  Socialists hate anyone richer than they are, with a huge exception for their campaign contributors.  And socialists, who like to say they favor the “little guy”, prefer to bring down the rich, rather than improve the ability of the little guy to get richer. Leveling only applies to the people at the top, not the ones at the bottom (who can never seem to get less poor).

  16. libertyPell

    Gérard Depardieu and Eduardo Saverin are excellent examples of the ability to oppose high tax rates. They left.  If there are no rich people, they can not be taxed.  Think of yourself as a free agent who can play (pay taxes) for the highest bidder (the country offering the lowest rates). This is not the Middle Ages when it was impossible to roll up your farmland and take it elsewhere. Assets are portable. Unfortunately, there are laws designed to stop this but they are today’s Berlin Walls.