The first European settlement in Mississippi, Fort Maurepas, was established by French explorateur Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville in 1699. With the recent announcement by France's Socialist president, François Hollande, of a tax plan to soak the rich, should Americans and others get ready for another French emigration, not of explorers but of entrepreneurs and other employers?
Because that's what may be about to happen -- and it could happen to the United States if Barack Obama and the Democrats follow in Hollande's footsteps.
You might think that the purpose of the new and higher French taxes was to significantly affect the deficit. But it wasn't. Rather, writes Michael Birnbaum of the Washington Post, who notes that the higher income tax "raises too little money to make a dent in France's funding needs," the Socialist tax plan "is more of a political symbol than an economic measure. It will help give Hollande political cover."
Perhaps Monsieur Hollande's leftist political base may be placated by skyrocketing tax rates on job creators, but businesses and investors say the actual, as opposed to the symbolic, economic effect will be to reduce growth -- a tall order when one considers that economic growth this year in France is predicted to be a paltry 0.2 percent as it is!
Many Americans, especially Republicans and other critics of Obama's economic policies, believe the Democrats' proposal to increase the individual income tax by 10 percent on top earners; to increase the capital gains tax; to collect payroll taxes on investment income; to tax employers who don't provide their employees with health insurance by $3,000 per employee; to create a variety of other new taxes related to Obamacare and to increase taxes on the U.S. oil and gas industry by $4.2 billion a year, will hurt the U.S. economy. Even former President Bill Clinton has warned that raising taxes in a bad economy is a mistake.
The French tax increases are, of course, far larger than those proposed in the United States; not only would those making more than $1.23 million a year be taxed on all gains over this amount at a 75 percent rate, but taxpayers who make less than $100,000 per year would be taxed at 48 percent. And that's after already paying a 19.6 percent sales tax or VAT!
If you think the French are taxing everything that moves, you're not far off.
Indeed, Hollande's new tax policy levies a 3 percent "one-time" wealth tax on assets held by individuals (foreign or French) in France, when the value of the assets equals more than 1.3 million euros, or about $1.75 million. Corporate taxes will be increased in a variety of ways, such as a 3 percent tax corporations must pay on the dividends they pay out to their shareholders. And new taxes will be levied on financial transactions, on lending institutions, and on oil and gas companies.