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Ed Driscoll

Socialism: If You Build It, They Will Leave

October 21st, 2013 - 12:03 am

Or in the case of the French, they’ll leave to slightly less socialistic countries: “The failing economy and harsh taxes of François Hollande’s beleaguered nation are sending thousands packing — to Britain’s friendlier shores,” the London Telegraph reports:

“It’s not only that people don’t like to be treated like criminals just because they’re successful,” * says a French banker friend who has recently moved to London. “But this uncertainty in every aspect of the tax system means it is impossible to do business: you don’t know what your future costs are, or your customer’s. You can’t buy, you can’t sell, you can’t hire, you can’t fire.” **

While I’m still happy in Paris, I envy him his surroundings, the vibrancy of London, the feeling that anything is possible, the sense of fun I remember from the years I lived there in the Eighties and Nineties, and that I gladly find again every time I zoom in on the Eurostar. Paris, my city of birth, is an elegant museum – where any new idea, in any context, seems to be fated to be shot down by a combination of old, structural conformism and blasé disenchantment. ***

Today, one out of four French university graduates wants to emigrate, “and this rises to 80 per cent or 90 per cent in the case of marketable degrees”, says economics professor Jacques Régniez, who teaches at both the Sorbonne and the University of New York in Prague. “In one of my finance seminars, every single French student intends to go abroad.”

“The French workforce is now two-speed,” explains a headhunter who shuttles between Paris and London. “Among the young, perhaps a third speak English, are willing to relocate, and want to work. For one thing, their dream employers are the more prosperous of the large French multinationals, almost all those in the CAC40 index, who make over half of their profits abroad, sometimes over 90 per cent – companies like, say, L’Oréal, Schneider or Danone. This is why French universities have shocked the Académie française and now teach many courses in English.

* In that past, that sentiment didn’t end very well in France.

** Which sounds very much like business in America in the Obama era.

*** Which sounds very much like the worldview of Mr. Obama himself, frozen in 1967-era amber.

By the way, if you’d like the American translation of the above article, Kevin D. Williamson has you covered with “Suicide Pact: How to cripple your state in five easy steps.” The fifth of which is under a heading titled, “Don’t just be crazy — be California crazy:”

California is running out of things in the present to tax, and its future does not look terribly bright, so it has resorted to taxing the past. A combination of judicial shenanigans and legislative incompetence resulted in California’s reneging on tax incentives that had been offered to some businesses — and then demanding the retroactive payment of taxes for which businesses had never been legally liable. Small-business owners, some of whom had sold their businesses years ago, suddenly got demands for taxes running well into the six figures. And, California being California, it had the gall to charge those businesses interest on taxes they had never owed. Jim Fowler, a software entrepreneur, was hit with a bill for more than $600,000. “I think that’s the part that’s really going to ruin trust in the state of California,” he said. “You can’t do this to entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs will stop coming here.”

There was a time — and it really wasn’t that long ago — when if you were a financial firm, you had to have an office in Lower Manhattan, when film studios had to have offices in Los Angeles, and high-tech firms really needed to be in Silicon Valley. If Travis Brown’s big data set shows us anything it is that those days are done. You can build very fine automobiles in the United States, but if you aren’t already in Detroit, you’d be a fool to set up shop there. For the feckless governors of high-tax, big-government states with Governor Perry and Governor Scott breathing down their necks, the only question is which Rick they’re going to get rolled by.

How crazy has California gotten? “State media, Jerry Brown ignore CA’s worst-in-nation poverty rate,” according to Chris Reed of CalWatchDog.com:

If you were a resident in the state with the nation’s highest poverty rate, wouldn’t you think you’d be aware of that fact? That a higher percentage of your family, friends, neighbors and others in your community struggled to make ends meet than the same folks in any of the other 49 states?

Of course. But here in California, where the incompetence of the media can scarcely be exaggerated, almost nobody is aware that the Golden State is no. 1 in economic misery.”

Number one in socialism and regulation, number one in economic misery — ride the Mobius loop of doom until state runs of out of money.

See also: Detroit, Greece and Spain.

Update: California “is now home to roughly one-third of the nation’s welfare recipients, equal to almost three times its proportion of the nation’s population,” Joel Kotkin notes in the Orange County Register.

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