Punishing the Rich, Not Balancing Budgets

Michael Medved

3/15/2012 1:56:18 PM - Michael Medved

The front-running candidate for President of France, Socialist Francois Hollande, tried to energize supporters by demanding a new top tax rate of 75%--nearly double the current 41%.

He says, “it’s a message of social cohesion…It’s a matter of patriotism.” But even left-leaning economists admit the new rate won’t raise much revenue—since wealthy taxpayers manage to cut their overall liability, today averaging 18%, far below official rates. In Britain, a recent increase of top rates to 50% reduced revenue rather than increasing it.

And yet French socialists refuse to retreat. They are like American leftists—demanding higher rates not to balance budgets, but to punish the rich for their success. That sort of punishment may win votes and soothe smoldering resentments, but it does nothing to revive the economy or help the struggling middle class.