Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Une droite peut en cacher une autre

One thing you can say for the American Right: no matter how nonsensical its nostrums may seem, it believes them. When Republicans say, "Cutting taxes increases revenue," they would cut off their right (left?) arms sooner than admit they were wrong. Not so the French Right. They were all for the bouclier fiscal when it was a matter of "overcoming inhibitions about money" and "unleashing entrepreneurial energy" and "allowing creative people to keep the fruits of their genius"--and of course when these slogans seemed to promise more votes. But times have changed, the votes have evaporated, the word "solidarity" is back in vogue, the poor are really, not just relatively, suffering (in good times it's an article of faith on the right that the poor bring their relative deprivation on themselves by lacking the gumption needed to succeed). Compassion is what the Right thinks it needs to sell now, the whispers against the tax shield have now turned to shouts and howls, especially since only 19,000 people seem to be benefiting from it, and it's going to be tough to persuade voters, when anticipated tax increases arrive, that folks with fortunes above 15 million euros really need the tax break that will be denied to la France qui se lève tôt.

But Sarko has seemed to be drawing a line in the sand. If he now gives in, his defeat in the regionals will have turned to a rout. The symbolic import of the bouclier has always far surpassed its economic significance. If he now drops his shield, he will be exposed to slings and arrows from all sides. But if he doesn't drop it, he may find himself a general without an army, who needs more than a shield to save him from his enemies.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

poverty and to be poor are inherently relative concepts.

It does not necessarily follow that the suppression of the bouclier fiscal and raising taxes on the rich would result in the alleviation of those who are more poor than others.

Taxes that are levied or raised don't really reach those targets they're meant to hit - ie, the obscenely rich fat cats and those whose earnings are in the millions.
those who do end up taking the hit and feeling the hit are the folks further down the food chain - they're rich enough to be in high-rate categories but unlike the fat cats, they can't (or don't know how to,or want to) move their money outside of France.
More than 100,000 households & individuals could benefit from the bouclier fiscal but less than 20,000 have the wherewithal to take advantage of it.

Its not just the Fouquet's crowd who are interested in the bouclier fiscal. There are families and couples who earn a pretty penny, pay either around 14% or 30% income tax, and then get hit up for anywhere between another 15% to 30% (or more) with the taxe foncier and other taxes locaux, not to mention the 20% or so that evaporates from one's gross salary.
And even if only 100,000 households stand to gain, many more persons are open to the suggestion that the State needs to impose limits on itself when it comes to taxation. Give it an inch, and it’ll take a foot.

Up until what point does it become unjust and ridiculous to tax individuals and families? Is it when 90% of one's revenue is confiscated, or is it at 70%, or 50%...etc. ? There's no quantifiably objective answer, I suppose.



Chris P.