In France, socialist President Francois Hollande had an opportunity to back down from a campaign promise to slap a 75 percent income tax on any personal income over 1 million euros. Unfortunately, Hollande has reiterated that he's the kind of socialist who keeps his promises. What France desperately needs right now is a socialist who reneges on everything that comes out of his mouth and spends most of his term on vacation, but apparently Hollande is determined not to be that kind of guy.
France's richest man, Bernard Arnault, the multibillionaire CEO of LVMH (the parent company for brands such as Louis Vuitton, Dior, Moet & Chandon, Guerlain and Sephora), who sits in fourth place on the list of the world's richest people, has already applied for Belgian citizenship and has reportedly been spending much of his time in the neighboring country, where, incidentally, his tax rate would be 50 percent. Despite Arnault's denials that he'd move either jobs or his own tax burden out of France, the left-leaning Liberation newspaper ran a front-page story featuring Arnault's photo and a headline that translates to: "Screw off, rich idiot!" Arnault promptly sued the newspaper for "public injury," noting that he has created more than 20,000 jobs in the country.
But really, why should Arnault be condemned to give away 75 percent of his personal income to a government that does nothing but fritter it away on free health care and entitlements for illegal immigrants, on various whiners who refuse to leave the block on which they grew up in an effort to procure gainful employment, on unproductive bureaucratic leeches, and on a trough full of political fat cats? Apparently some people feel better about their lot in life when socialist policies are perceived as forcing people such as Arnault to share in their misery.
That's not a country -- it's an economic gulag. I have a feeling that Putin would be only too happy these days to lecture you on the difference. Incidentally, how much would Arnault, or anyone else, pay in income tax in Putin's Russia?
Answer: Russia has a 13 percent flat tax for all personal income, and a 20 percent rate for corporate taxes. It used to be much higher, but apparently Putin was pretty sure that cutting taxes would stimulate economic growth. Go figure.