Can it be true? Are the French socialists actually coming out against any more tax increases?
Well, not exactly. They want the public to absorb the current tax increases before spanking them again.
n an unfortunate piece of timing, however, the pledge came just as the environment minister announced the creation of a new “carbon tax” and amid reports that the overall tax pressure on French households will rise even further next year.
Returning from their summer break, the French are about to discover stinging rises in tax bills in their letter boxes – the result of a series of new levies enacted by President François Hollande as he seeks to plug the French deficit and bring down public debt – now riding at 92 per cent of GDP.
But the extent of the hikes has apparently even shocked the very Socialist ministers who implemented them.
The total tax pressure (taxes and social security contributions) will account for 46.3 per cent of GDP this year – a historic high – compared to 45 per cent in 2012.
Some 16 million households will see an automatic 2 per cent rise in income tax as calculations are no longer mitigated by inflation. Family tax breaks will be cut.
The rich will see the highest rises, following Mr Hollande’s decision to raise the rate to 45 per cent for those earning more than 150,000 euros – effectively 49 per cent due to an additional levy.
Amid discontent at the forthcoming rises, Jean-François Copé, head of the opposition Right-wing UMP party today pledged to enact “massive tax cuts” and to slash state spending by ten per cent should his party win power in 2017.
In a clear damage limitation exercise, a chorus of top Socialists spoke out against any more rises.
Pierre Mosovici, the finance minister, told France Inter radio: “I’m very sensitive to the French getting fed up with taxes We are listening to them.” Laurent Fabius, the foreign minister followed suit, warning Mr Hollande to be “very, very careful” as “there’s a level above which we shouldn’t climb”.
One Socialist told Les Echos newspaper that the hand-wringing was totally hypocritical as “they are crying wolf, but the wolf is us.”
Jeez, what a bunch of hypocrites. They stick it to the people least able to absorb a tax hike without a decline in their standard of living, and then declare a de facto moratorium on tax hikes — at least until they think they can get away with more tax increases politically.
The net result of the tax increases will be slower growth, which, considering all the new spending that Hollande has proposed probably means the deficit will go up, rather than shrink. The French president was one of the biggest boosters in Europe of getting rid of “austerity” budgets, so now we’ll see just how “Hollandonomics” plays out in the real economy.
“The wolf is us,” pretty much sums up the reality of the situation.