The bouclier fiscal, a "red line" that the president said only months ago could not be crossed, that he would "never surrender," is out. In (modest) compensation, the threshold of the wealth tax has been lifted from €790,000 to €1.3 million. 300,000 families will now be exempted from the ISF.
So virtually nothing remains of a centerpiece of the reform that was supposed to revive growth by offering incentives to entrepreneurs, etc. And clearly the promised "complete revision of the tax code" for 2011 will not happen either. Sarko has evidently decided to run on his record tel quel. Slim as it is, he will need to put a rather fancy frame around it if he hopes to salvage any part of the market liberalizer he pretended to be in 2007.
But perhaps he has decided to cede that terrain to Dominique Strauss-Kahn, whom the Right has already begun to paint as "la gauche ultra-caviar," etc. For the purposes of the next campaign, it may well be expedient to pretend that Sarko never occupied this terrain at all, that he had nothing to do with DSK's appointment to the IMF, and that le néo-libéral, c'est lui.
But that's not all: Christian Jacob, Jean-François Copé's hatchet man, is in hot water for having let slip that DSK is "not in the image of rural France, the France that I love." The opposition has been quick to point out the possible anti-Semitic connotations of Jacob's remark, but I can't help noticing that it would have been simpler to say that if DSK isn't in the image of rural France, neither is Nicolas Sarkozy, the man who removed the patting of cow's rumps from the obligatory duties of a president. Ainsi va la France.
As for Jacob, I award him a title I once reserved for the other Christian, Estrosi: le roi des cons.