Vincent Grandil, a partner in the Paris law firm Altexis, which caters to rich French citizens, is increasingly being asked by his clients if now would be a good time to flee France for countries with lower tax rates:
We’re getting a lot of calls from high earners who are asking whether they should get out of France. Even young, dynamic people pulling in 200,000 euros [$250,000] are wondering whether to remain in a country where making money is not considered a good thing.
When Francois Hollande was running for president earlier this year he made certain that his countrymen’s disdain for the wealthy was reflected in his platform if he were elected. Among measures to cut back on electricity generated by nuclear power in favor of much more expensive and less reliable renewable energy sources and hiring another 150,000 people onto the public payrolls was his plan to “tax the rich”: incomes above 1 million euros a year would be taxed at 75 percent instead of the current 41 percent.
As president of France, Hollande is now working hard to get that measure passed by the Socialist controlled houses of parliament in September even though it isn’t expected to raise any significant amount of revenue. Sophie Pedder, the Paris bureau chief for The Economist, was interviewed on National Public Radio the day of Hollande’s election victory, and was asked why he was pushing for this tax increase that would affect such a tiny percentage of French citizens. Pedder responded:
Well, it's quite interesting because he's been very clear that he doesn't expect to raise almost any revenue at all from the tax rate. He says what he wants to do is impose a sort of morality on high earners and on what he calls indecent wages.
So he's really trying to kind of curb, I suppose, excess, and make sure that big bosses, big bankers, and those who are going to be in this sort of an earning bracket will reward themselves with the sort of salaries that people don't find outrageous. And that's what he's after. It's not about revenue.
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