Posted on | May 7, 2012 | 28 Comments
“François Hollande will strike fear into the hearts of the rich,” is the headline on a column by Nabila Ramdani in the British Independent.
Permit me to suggest two likely results (a) some genuinely rich people will leave France, taking their wealth with them, and (b) a lot of the “rich” people in France won’t be so rich any more.
The point is that “rich” is often used to designate people who, at any given time, have a high annual income. This is not the same as “rich,” as in having a massive net worth, and it is certainly not the same as the cartoonish Thurston Howell III stereotype: People born to ultra-wealthy parents, who grow up in extraordinarily affluent circumstances, with nannies and butlers and chauffeurs, top-flight private schools, winter ski vacations at the family chalet, summers in the Hamptons, etc.
It’s resentment of the Thurston Howell III types that fuels this spiteful rage to make the rich “pay their fair share,” and so if François Hollande tries to jack up taxes on those people, they’ll either find ways to evade the taxes or else they’ll get the hell out of France. One way or another, by driving investment capital out of the private sector, such a soak-the-rich policy will have the effect of stifling economic growth, and reduce the incomes of everybody, including some high-income people — entrepreneurs, high-skill technicians, sales executives — who, earning less money in a weakened economy, will therefore not pay as much taxes at the higher rate as they would had the rates stayed the same.
So all this “strike fear in the hearts of the rich” noise is either just noise, or else it’s a plan to spread the misery around.
BTW, yes, I realize this is my second post in a row about François Hollande, and yes, I realize you probably don’t give a damn about the French. But it’s all over Memeorandum, and the rest of the news seems kinda meh today. So let’s have more fun with Euro-weenies, eh? Here’s Independent columnist Peter Popham:
Rise of far right threatens
to pollute politics across Europe
They may not have claimed ultimate victory, but the biggest winners of the elections in France and Greece were the parties of the extreme right. Fringe parties, some of them routinely labelled “neo-Fascist” until recently, have made stunning inroads into mainstream European politics, to the point that in France, Norway, Finland, Hungary and Austria they either hold or threaten to hold the balance of power. Governments are increasingly faced with the choice of either giving ground on hot-button issues such as immigration and Islam, or ceding power.
Hang on here: France elects a socialist who wants to impose tax rates as high as 75 percent, and it’s the “extreme right” we’re worried about? Speaking of irrational fear, Charles Johnson is hearing jackboots on the cobblestones again, as Diary of Daedalus reports:
The Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party has won 7% of the votes in Greece’s recent election. They will get 21 seats in the new parliament. This gave Charles Johnson an orgasm since he is obsessed with Nazis!
Seven percent of voters in Greece, a country with a population (11.3 million) roughly the size of Ohio, vote for this far-right party, and Charles Johnson imagines . . . what? The Greek neo-Hitler building up a mighty war machine? An Aegean Kristallnacht? An invasion of Macedonia? Greek bombers and tanks rampaging across the Mediterranean? Headline from the London Daily Mail:
Sounds scary, except they only got 7% of the vote! Assuming that the other 93% of Greek parliament members aren’t down for this agenda, the wacko plans of these “ultra-right” guys are as much of a genuine danger as the threat of Ron Paul becoming president. (OK, that scenario had some people jittery in December.) We’re talking about a comparative handful of powerless kooks in a weak, impoverished and demographically collapsing country on the far side of the globe.
The same people who want us all to freak out about Greek Nazis, of course, would be the first to accuse of us of irresponsible fear-mongering if we pointed out the dangers of, inter alia, narco-terrorists in Mexico or Mahmoud Ahmahdinejad in Iran.
Hell, I’m more afraid of Canadians than I am of the Greeks, and we could probably wipe out Canada in a week or two without mobilizing much more than the Minnesota National Guard.
You people need to get a grip, or you’ll end up gibbering nonsense on “progressive” talk-radio like Charles Johnson: