Hollande’s latest posturing is awful news for French residents and business.
For the high net worths of France, who have recently been on the receiving end of their floundering president’s anti-wealth onslaught, the New Year has brought a little good news: the French courts have described the president’s proposed 75 per cent tax on earnings of more than one million euros as unconstitutional.
Though the courts’ objection will be heartening to those who feel they are bearing an unfairly large burden of France’s economic woes, their joy might be premature. In his New Year’s Eve address to the nation, Hollande reiterated his determination to squeeze the rich as much as he can, blissfully unaware of the financial carnage this proposed policy has already caused.
New data from the Banque de France shows a substantial increase in outflows in November and December of last year. The net loss of funds over those two months alone is estimated at 53 billion euros. It is no coincidence that that period saw Hollande’s announcement of extortionate tax policies, and the French business world declare war on his government.
In October, as money was pouring out of France and the country’s richest man, Bernard Arnault, made efforts to flee to Belgium, an alliance of private sector groups declared their outrage at Hollande’s treatment of French business. This business group, MEDEF, said businesses were ‘in revolt across the country’ and that ‘large foreign investors are shunning France altogether.’
Bernard Arnault tried to flee to Belgium
Unemployment in France is now creeping above 10%, and is already at 27 per cent amongst young people. Hollande’s popularity, as gauged by opinion polls, is dismal, and the country’s wealthiest people are fleeing, or trying to flee, in droves; many are being welcomed to the UK with open arms by David Cameron.
All of which, you may think, would have prompted Hollande to make a reality check. Not so. On New Year’s Eve he said: ‘We will always ask more from those who have most. That is the intention of the exceptional contribution by the highest income earners, which will be adjusted following the constitutional council’s decision, without changing the objective.’