If you’re French and earn more than a million Euros a year ($1.24 million), you’re about to be slugged with a seventy-five percent tax.
Yes, you read correctly. That’s a seven followed by a five, and then comes the decimal point.
And yes, next time you eat at your suburban IHOP, it’s a good bet there might be an extra Frenchman or two, sporting a brand new baseball cap and aviator sunglasses, quietly cursing American coffee, desperate to swear an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic. Oh, and there’s an even better chance they’ll be guarding carefully pockets lined with greenbacks and Euros.
It’s all part of a plan by newly-elected French President Francois Hollande to get people to “pay extra tax to get the country back on its feet again”. It’s fine, really. The French just have a unique brand of patriotism.
No, it’s not fine. And it should be considered downright unpatriotic for the national leader of any country to demand such a thing. It encourages, or in the case of the French, entrenches aspirations to mediocrity. It’s au revoir incentive and therefore excellence and bonjour mediocrity.
We finally found people the French dislike even more than the Germans: successful French. And we’ve had confirmed that their national motto of Liberté, égalité, fraternité is today not worth a pinch of French salt.
It is something that until now Americans have always understood better than any other people. The most potent source of government’s control on your life is in the form of its power to tax you. That’s why a citizenry should always scratch and claw, and expend every energy to ensure that this power is at its weakest, always. You can’t find anyone with a more aggressive aversion to taxation than the idealized American. They understand the nexus between liberty and taxation. And they won’t wear it; they’ll vote and act with their mouths. But the Frenchman? Well, he’s been struggling with the concept of Liberté since his Revolution, the passing of Alexis de Tocqueville and parting with his special gift that now sits in the New York Harbor. And even when he was into Liberté, way back when, he negated it because unlike the American, he linked it to equality of outcome, not equality of opportunity. C’est la vie.
It is near impossible to have but little sympathy for the hapless French. Their election of socialist Hollande earlier this year was inexplicable. Given the economic circumstances, it signified a total disconnect with reality. No Socialist President in thirty years, and you elect one now? With all that has happened in Europe? Seriously? What the fudge?
America needs to watch closely the events of Europe. After all, if they revisit their error in November, they’ll possibly be graduating from the preview screening to the feature film, and there won’t be a need for subtitles.
Just hope and pray for the world’s sake America keeps eating Freedom Fries and Liberty Toast, and leaves the French stuff to France.
Nick Adams is a political historian, author and conservative media commentator from Australia, and is considered the “de Tocqueville of our generation”.