Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Taxes: The New Frontier

The Left has seized on the retirement issue, which has momentum at the moment, but on the Right, the feeling is that it's better to change the subject. So suddenly we have a fair amount of high-level talk about doing something. Sarkozy wants the tax reform bill of 2011 to be a popular measure he can ride into the 2012 campaign, and that means doing something about the bouclier fiscal, which even François Baroin now concedes has become "a symbol of injustice." Meanwhile, two Socialist deputies, Valls and Le Guen, have revived the idea of a "social VAT," earlier touted by the UMP, as a substitute for payroll taxes that are allegedly hurting French competitiveness in certain sectors (h/t KirkMc). Of course, this kind of issue lends itself well to demagogic electioneering, which will soon be the order of the day. One sees it already in the rebranding of the social VAT as an "anti-outsourcing tax" that will prove that Socialists are "open to the world," "enemies of tariffs," and naturally friends of free trade.

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