French voters were in a mood to eject the incumbent, often a good idea. But, alas, the president they picked to replace Nicolas Sarkozy is an ardent socialist. And socialism, sanctified or not by centuries-old fealty to notions of French Revolutionary egalité, is always a très mauvaise idée.
President François Hollande has vowed to impose a 75 percent tax on all income over a million euros, or about 1.25 million dollars. Such a steep levy is supposed to be moral because making lots of money is per se morally suspect — at least according to the egalitarianism in which Hollande is steeped.
The tax gouge is also supposed to be practical in that it will supposedly help cure France’s debt crisis. Sure, looting les riches will cover but a smidgen of France’s debt pileup. But because even not-rich Frenchmen are also likely to pay higher taxes to appease the EU, it’s best to pave the way by first flogging the envious not-rich man’s favorite target.
Meanwhile, more sensible measures — like freeing up the French economy and slashing the government’s social welfare programs — don’t seem to rank very high on Hollande’s to-do list.
In response to the danger, many of the wealthiest and most productive Frenchmen are doing the only moral and practical thing. They’re packing their bags, just in case their new leader fulfills his vow. If so, they’ll flee to lower-taxing places like Belgium and Switzerland, where jobseekers will be delighted to have them.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.