Report: Thousands of French Households Face 100% Tax Under Hollande

louis-xvi-execution-e1357165572206We have been discussing the tax policies of President Francois Hollande’s Socialist government — a record that I have criticized as ruinous from an economic standpoint. A recent report indicates that for some high-earning families — more than 8,000 — the Hollande policies impose a 100% tax. It is the ultimate “eat the rich” policy. Even for those families facing a 75% rate, it is unclear why they would continue to work in the country. Many are not. France is experiencing a flight of both high earners and companies.

The bizarre 100% tax is the result of a one-off levy last year on 2011 incomes for households with assets of more than 1.3 million euros ($1.67 million). The surcharge was imposed shortly after Hollande took office on a promise to hit the rich with high taxes. The Hollande 75% direct tax was so unfair that the Constitutional Council struck it down. However, this report states that the one-off levy effectively pushed some families to a 100% tax.

The newspaper Les Echos found that nearly 12,000 households paid taxes last year worth more than 75 percent of their 2011 revenues due to the exceptional levy. ($1 = 0.7798 euros).

Putting aside how many families are impacted by taxes above 75%, it is in my view an insane, self-destructive economic policy for France. I just spent an evening with a friend and his parents discussing the situation in France. This is a moderate family politically that has long fished in French waters. My friend is now an American citizen but his parents and family remain in France. They recounted how they had to destroy half of their ships because of taxes. They are seeing other businesses doing the same or simply moving out of France. These a patriotic and proud French people but they are watching their government cannibalize off the economy. The government is getting instant revenue while killing revenue producing businesses. It is like eating the grapes and roots of the vineyards of Bordeaux for food and leaving the fields barren.

As someone who truly loves visiting France, it is disheartening to watch Hollande’s cultural war on the wealthy. I favor higher taxes as part of a comprehensive package of reforms in this country and other countries. However, Hollande’s expressed hatred of the rich resulted in a political success and now an economic disaster. It is also grossly unfair to wealth French who love their country and are not opposed to making sacrifices. Hollande played the class card and told the French that their problems were due to a sinister upper class rather than France’s high labor costs and burgeoning budgets. Even if one dismisses this study and the one-year levy, there are still many thousands of families and businesses who face a government demanding 75 percent tax rates.

These policies however will only lengthen the economic crisis. Indeed, France is already viewed as a hostile country for business and that is likely to continue under Hollande who is fighting the French judges to impose taxes higher than what is viewed as constitutional or fair by the courts.

Source: Reuters

502 thoughts on “Report: Thousands of French Households Face 100% Tax Under Hollande”

  1. Bron: You are being to specific. For a counter-example, if you won the lottery without any work, wouldn’t you still be excited to actually collect the check? If you were out for a good time, fishing in a river, and found a gold nugget that was yours to keep, wouldn’t that make you happy?

    Happiness is not predicated on having worked for it, some happiness is the result of just being fortunate or lucky without any work at all. I was in a casino earlier this month; I sat down to play poker and the very first hand I was dealt I got two aces in the hole. That made me happy; I did not work for it or expect it, but I felt lucky (and won the first pot).

    All animals do have the same basic neuronal structure as we do. We are evolved from lesser animals, and there is a high probability (based on experiments and the still developing theories of the details about how evolution proceeds) that whatever makes us unique from them in thought is only a matter of degree, not of quality.

    Specifically, there are three areas of the brain that are implicated in consciousness, the thalamus, the lateral prefontal cortex, and the posterior parietal cortex. Many animals have them, but there is a spectrum of relative size for the two latter areas, and humans are #1 by a large margin. These three areas have more connections to each other and to other regions in the brain than any other region of the brain; especially in humans. The hypothesis most prevalent among those that study consciousness is that “consciousness” consists of this integration of all sensory forms into some kind of whole experience.

    But, even though our degree of consciousness is great, the connections also exist in other animals. It may be possible to assign an actual number, a degree of consciousness, by measuring the communications activity between these areas.

    The dog is conscious. It is not a robot. You have been misled by Rand and others, that perhaps misled themselves: They reason backward from their desire to justify the exploitation of animals, and with a flawed understanding of consciousness as being either fully present at human levels or completely absent, they concluded animals cannot be conscious, cannot have any sense of self, and therefore it is morally safe to enslave them (steal their work) or kill and eat them.

    I on the other hand believe all animals with a developed cortex are conscious to some degree, tiny or large, but I do not have a moral problem with raising them for work or food.

    The entire reason for dismissing animal consciousness and a sense of self is just not necessary, it has nothing to do with human rights. Even people that are unconscious and may be so permanently have human rights; consciousness does not confer the right to life any more than having sight or all your limbs. If you fall into a coma, it does not make your life, organs and property fair game.

  2. tony c:

    I would say the reason we would feel excited by graduation is because it is the attainment of something worked for. It isnt a response to stimulus.

    I would think that all animals have the same basic neuronal structure we do. Although I would think there must be some differences in size or number of connections possible.

  3. Bron: We all respond to stimulus. Their neurons are not materially different than our neurons; and our neurons are also trained by repetition. You (and Rand) make a logical mistake in assuming, without any evidence whatsoever and plenty of evidence to the contrary, that their neural activity MUST be different than ours because they are a different species. It isn’t, the dog’s thinking is precisely the same as ours, it is just to a lesser degree. (The key difference seems to be humans make abstractions of abstractions of abstractions, ad infinitum, and can unravel the chain all the way back to a specific. Animals seem very limited in their ability to make an abstraction of an abstraction.)

    However, that error is mute. We agree it is neurons, and it is the neuron’s job to learn (by repetition) patterns, and it is firing neuron’s from that pattern that are stimulating the dog’s emotional anticipation of ham; excitement.

    Let me point out something you seem to have missed: Why is the dog excited? Why bark, turn in circles, run back and forth? It doesn’t bring the ham faster. It isn’t something he does when eating his ham. It isn’t something I taught him to do. I have never withheld his ham, he doesn’t have to beg for it or do tricks for it, so he isn’t doing that to try and get it faster. In fact, he gets his slice of ham in 12 parts, I slice it up and give him about one a minute as I eat my sandwich; during which time he sits quietly within hand’s reach of me. He isn’t doing THAT, either.

    Why is the dog excited? What purpose does that serve? If you saw a person acting excited by an imminent event (like a graduation) wouldn’t you assume they are anticipating their happiness at the event? Would you call that just a response to stimulus?

    The dog thinks. The dog anticipates. The dog has neurons predicting his immediate future, and that is creating a positive emotion in the dog, and he is expressing that in the only way he knows how, he shouts for joy and he can’t stand still so he moves happy; he makes his playful moves.

    If he isn’t thinking, neither are we.

  4. tony c:

    I have thought a good deal about animals based on some of your thoughts and Rand’s thoughts.

    I love dogs and have had them all my life, except during college, and think the world of them. I love Kiplings poem The Power of the Dog.

    My conclusion is that they really arent doing what we would call thinking when they start barking when the ham comes out. That is just a training of neurons by repetition which is in the nature of neurons to be able to do.

    Obviously this is an evolutionary necessity, to avoid pain and to sustain life with food. I think they are little more than computers which are programmed by the natural world to avoid pain and respond to reward. They respond to stimulus.

    Although there have been times when I thought I saw a spark of reason in my many dogs. Since we are so good at thinking and reasoning it is hard for us to not think other animals do so to some degree. If birds could talk [and reason] they would probably wonder why we cannot fly and fish would wonder why we have such trouble swimming.

  5. Correction: but without neurons informing him about something about to happen in the future, he would not go wild.

  6. Prediction of something in 1000 years is beyond the capability of a chimpanzee, they cannot even comprehend the predicate (“in 1000 years.”)

    Animals with neurons, even flies and slugs, have intelligence; as Pavlov showed even a chicken can learn a temporal pattern that ends in food or pain, and when that pattern starts, anticipate the end (predict the future) and act to take advantage of it (if positive) or avoid it (if negative). They are predicting what will happen. My dog goes wild when the ham comes out, because he always gets his slice, and he knows that is about to happen. You can dismiss that in many ways, but neurons informing him about something about to happen in the future he would not go wild. He knows the same thing about ice cream. (and before readers tell me how bad I am; my dog is his perfect dog weight, and consumes no more than the 850 calories a day that keeps him there.)

    As I said, I am talking about the prosaic small “p” form of prediction, knowing what will happen in a few seconds or minutes. Mankind is the only animal that can predict and understand that something is true for all time (like a chemical combination) or for many years in advance.

  7. tony c:

    no, no Rand. Just my own thought about what you are saying.

    predict does mean using scientific principles, so OK. But if something is certain to happen, such as when I mix slat with water and I end up with Na+ and Cl- ions, is that really predicting the future? I am certain it is going to happen. If it didnt happen and I got a white percipitate at the bottom of the glass I would wonder why that happened. Something is in the water or I did not put salt into the water but some other chemical.

    When I am extremely confident something will happen, I dont consider that to be predicting the future. Saying that in 1,000 years, assuming civilization continues as it has, we are going to be able to fly to the moon as easily as we fly to Paris, France isnt much of a prediction.

    There is induction and deduction which I think is what you are talking about.

    Galileo, I think, used induction to determine 2 balls dropped from a height would fall at the same rate of speed. Holmes uses deduction to solve his cases.

  8. Bron: You are not predicting the future if something is certain to happen.

    Ha! Is that a Rand inspired redefinition, or did you come up with that on your own? If you are certain something will happen in the future and you say so, you are predicting the future. That is what predicting the future means.

    More generally, as I have already stipulated, predicting the future with a high probability of success is what I am talking about as “intelligence.” I also include discerning what has happened in the past from indirect clues, Sherlock style, as intelligence. Both require applying abstract mental models that capture the essence of how things work in order to simulate (for the future) what is the most probable outcome, or (for the past) what was the most probable precursor state that could lead to the now-observed clues.

    The fact that a chemical equation always works in exactly the same way is what lets us predict the future. (btw, are you sure? In the presence of a strong magnetic field, for example, or intensely bathed with UV photons?)

    Your currently accepted-known engineering principles are what you were taught as the engineer’s method of predicting the future, precisely because of its accuracy in doing so. Whatever your confidence level may be is the confidence level you have in your prediction of the future; and some of what we do in engineering research is find ways to improve upon that confidence level. Along with finding materials and procedures, both during construction and post construction (like inspection protocols or sensing devices) that increase safety or confidence levels in the most likely future, which we hope is the airplane not falling out of the sky, the dam not breaking, and the bridges and buildings not collapsing. In the future.

  9. Tony C:

    I can only design a beam based on currently accepted/known engineering principles. This gives me a certain confidence level against collapse, it doesnt mean the structure cannot collapse.

    Chemistry is much more certain than engineering. Hydrogen and Oxygen will always, under the right conditions, form water. You are not predicting the future if something is certain to happen. A chemical equation works because of the properties of the chemicals involved, and it always works in exactly the same way. It cannot do otherwise, that is its nature/essence.

  10. davidm: When that happens to me, I try to cut it up into smaller segments, so I can figure out which one is giving WordPress heartburn. Try posting like just the first paragraph or two. say TBC… (To be continued) at the end…

  11. bettykath: Sure.

    Bron: A lioness does predict the future; in landscape and herd configurations it has never seen before (because the exact positions of animals in a herd is always unique), it uses abstract patterns that solve the problem of catching one of them by surprise (like carefully chasing it into an ambush by its sister). You can call that instinct, but somewhere in that brain are neurons that decide on action (or inaction) now because they expect a particular reaction in the future. So whether they predict the future consciously or instinctively isn’t my point. My point is that neurons, both individually and in aggregate, are in the job of recognizing patterns that play out over time, so recognizing a partially completed pattern now can automatically predict the future, because the completion of the pattern is yet to happen. Whether that is predicting the future path of a bicycle in one second, or predicting the best route to work on a Friday, or the summer vacation one will most enjoy, or whether one will have enough to retire on at 65.

  12. Bron: I am not sure what “truly” means, but if you are an engineer, you are in the business of predicting the future. Like, what beam will hold and what will fail; what building will stand against a hurricane force wind and which will collapse.

    A chemist predicts the future by knowing, mentally, what reactions will occur with which compounds and chemicals. Somebody predicted, based on a correct model of abstract patterns, that the combination C-4 should explode, and then built it and exploded it. A biologist predicts the future by knowing how organisms will react, and often exploiting that. A chef predicts the future by mentally combining flavors and successfully coming up with something new that is delicious. Or just by slow-cooking something in the successful prediction it will become tender.

    When I say predict the future, I am not talking about some science fiction thing, I am talking about the prosaic sense of “know what will happen before it happens,” whether the scale is short or long.

  13. tony c:

    I dont disagree with what you are saying.

    Not all people are curious about their environment and many could care less as to why or how they exist.

    As far as predicting the future, I am going to have to think about that. I dont think you can truly predict the future but you can make certain assumptions based on well founded principles. But of course a rock or a lion does not care/cannot care about the future.

  14. Bron: That is true.

    The next step is to understand why we are driven to understand, and figure things out. I contend that is partially to help us know the truth of what has happened (so we won’t be deceived, and also to add accuracy in the performance of the next reason) and primarily to help us know what will most likely happen, so we can influence it or exploit it or avoid it.

    In my view a pretty good measure of “intelligence” that applies to all living things is the accuracy and depth with which they predict the future, which necessarily requires inferring with some accuracy what really happened in the past.

    I think that is why we enjoy shows like the current “Elementary,” yet another Sherlock that does both functions with uncanny precision (although not perfectly; which is what imparts the drama). And why we think people are stupid if they fail to perceive consequences of their actions that are obvious to the rest of us.

    The better somebody can predict the future (in some aspect) or infer the truth of past hidden events, the more intelligence we attribute to them.

  15. david:

    If you really get down to the core, many here who say they are atheists come close to your point.

    Natural laws exist independent of an observer. Gravity, light, quantum mechanics, etc. all exist independently of human beings. All we do is figure out a way to describe what we are observing that is intelligible to us. And just based on our senses we miss a good deal which is beyond our capacity to perceive such as very high or very low frequency sound, gamma rays, x-rays, certain spectruums of light, etc.

    Our minds are such that we want to understand and figure things out, so we do and we explain these natural phenomena in ways we can understand.

  16. DavidM: No it won’t. The line taken by me is essentially information science; it does not rely on anything non-physical at all. The neuron is a machine that can recognize patterns of sensation when exposed to them repeatedly. Its “sensations” are electrochemical changes that can be induced by our sensory organs (eyes, heat and pressure receptors in our skin, etc). However, a neuron can also “sense” the firings of other neurons, that signal when they see patterns (or quite frequently, fail to see a temporal sequence they have come to expect; many neurons only fire to alert that something is missing).

    Thus everything the mind perceives is an imperfect abstraction of reality, everything the mind predicts (its primary job is moment to moment prediction of thousands of expected states, so you can react to unexpected states) is predicted from an imperfect abstraction of reality, because all senses are limited and cannot perfectly perceive anything.

    Plato was wrong; there is no ideal plane, the abstractions we develop are necessarily imperfect. There is no infinitely small distance, or infinitely small angle, or infinitely thin line or plane.

    That said, abstractions are very powerful, precisely because they can cut through the noise of reality and predict outcomes when the noise is not an inherent determinant of the outcome (the definition of a chaotic system (and therefore unpredictable system) is basically that the noise IS a determinant; leading to the famous formulation of a butterfly wing flap in the Fall (noise in most systems) can produce a hurricane in the Summer (due to turbulence folding the weather cannot be predicted very far in the future without exponentially more accuracy).

    None of this requires God, it only requires that one understand the number of ways information can be combined is infinite, and at any given point in time the number of ways we have combined it is finite but grows monotonically (i.e. never decreases; once a combination happens it has happened). So new ways of combining information are always happening, or unfolding, or whatever you want to call it, and some of those new ways will result in new, emergent properties that we can exploit.

    To blow stuff up! Or save lives, reduce exploitation and coercion and desperation, make people happy, or other desirable things.

    I do not believe the mind of man transcends physical nature, I believe the mind of man will always perceive physical nature with imperfect abstractions. The irony is that these abstractions, without predicting the details of individual particle movement or field strengths or the exactitude of the number of photons interacting with surface atoms in a material, allow us to predict aggregate, most probable outcomes in the real world. Large general patterns we couldn’t predict without discarding most of the detail; like “tigers are dangerous” and “spears can kill things” and “Plant when the snow has melted.”

    Our mind does not transcend physical nature, it builds an abstract model of it, a simulation based on abstractions that lets it fast forward to probable futures, and then exploit them or guard against them. Imperfectly, I might add. You carry a spear in case you encounter either food or a predator, but you may encounter neither, in which case the calories expended carrying a spear were wasted. But in your simulations of the future, the worst outcomes are when you guess wrong and leave your cave without your spear, so the calories it takes to carry the spear are just like an insurance premium, better safe than sorry.

  17. Bron: You cannot invent something which does not have a basis in reality.

    Precisely, but you CAN invent something, and that means you can create something new. Your original claim was, There is nothing new under the sun, but there are inventions that when realized have never before been under the sun, never before been seen, and which may combine things that have been under the sun in ways that have never before been done, and therefore create new and emergent properties that have never been seen before.

    Steel does not occur naturally, you cannot mine for steel. It requires a process. That process does not occur naturally, it has to be invented, usually by trial and error, but the end product, a reliable, ordered set of steps that will produce steel, is indeed “something new under the sun.”

    Your claim that it obeys physical law doesn’t tell us anything, of course it does, because everything does. You might as well tell us all physical objects in the future will be composed of atoms, therefore they aren’t “new.” That is a ridiculous assertion, you imply newness depends only upon the physical sub-components of something, and that is not true; newness depends upon whether the particular combination of elements has been seen before, and that is what is “new” about an internal combustion engine: It was a new combination of principles and parts that accomplished work in a way never seen before its introduction.

  18. tony c:

    Did I say that the internal combustion engine was found? I said it works based on the principles of combustion which occur naturally.

    The properties of the components of C-4 yield an explosive. If they did not have those properties they would not be able to be configured to explode.

    If our brains were not configured as they are, we would not have minds. There are principles in nature which must be followed to produce most things which are manmade. You cannot invent something which does not have a basis in reality.

    Calculus is for measurement. Take a basketball, for example, using calculus I can tell you what the volume of the air containment portion of the ball is based on the thickness of the bladder and covering and the diameter of the ball. Assuming of course it is a true sphere. Obviously there will be some errors due to precision of the measurements I take by hand.

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