Taxing Questions

I didn’t think I would write any other posts on this blog.  The Presidential and Legislative campaigns of 2017, which saw the political movement I have supported (in various guises and in various countries) for 20 years almost wiped out.  The Parti Socialiste (PS) agonizes still, and has begun the process of choosing its new leadership, more of which elsewhere on this blog (as I am increasingly infuriated at that).  However, what has moved me to write after such a long gap is my frustration at French attitudes to taxation.

I pride myself on my degree of assimilation into the French way of life, language, culture and politics.  However I scratch my head with bewilderment every time the subject turns to taxation, for the French are afflicted with a terrible disease – that of the New Tax. Continue reading


Happy Anniversary

It has been a little over a year since the election of France’s second Socialist president. However, now that the left occupy the executive and legislative branches, there seems to be some buyer’s remorse.  Whilst few would have predicted that the return of the left to power would be at a time of economic crisis, social turbulence and an opposition both more divided and more visceral than ever before, added to that are historically low approval ratings, making a dangerous cocktail.

This first anniversary of the Socialist administration has been met with an orgy of circumspection, analysis, debating and soul-searching on the left, the right and centre as to the meaning to be found in the first year of this new Socialist government.  The right has characterised the first year as a “total failure”, with the country verging on collapse. The centre has largely tacked with the right. The far left has screeched at broken promises and betrayal. But where does the truth lies in all of this? Continue reading

A Tale of Two Percentages

Conseil_constitutionnelWith the stroke of a pen, on 30 December 2012, the Constitutional Council annulled François Hollande’s landmark policy of an exceptional tax on earnings over 1 million € set at 75%.  With that, the sorry saga of the 75% tax, is apparently at an end.  But without the 75% François Hollande would likely not have obtained another percentage: 51.64%, beating Nicolas Sarkozy in May 2012.

If Hollande owes his Presidency to his 75% policy, what happens now? Continue reading

Competing over Competitiveness

And so Louis finally handed in his report.  Mr Gallois, who faced, as I have blogged previously, the difficult decision of what medicine to prescribe to an obviously ill patient, published his report on French competitiveness yesterday.  The report was met with suspicion by trades-union, acclaim by the right, the centre and employers’ associations, and consternation by the government.

Ruled out immediately was the suggestion to pursue research into shale gas – a big no-no for the Greens.  However the key measure – finding some other source of financing the social security system by reducing employers’ and employees’ payroll taxes by 20 and 10 million euros respectively – has no become an unquestioned dogma in French politics.  The question is how to pay for it.  So who will the government stick with the bill? Continue reading