French socialists seem surprised, upset that wealthy actor has decided to jump ship

I’m not really sure what it was they were expecting as an alternate outcome. Come on, ‘democratic socialists’ — you know you can float ideas for a 75 percent tax rate on top earners all you want, but don’t act like you expected people to stick around and pay ’em.

Actor Gerard Depardieu has become the latest Frenchman to look for shelter outside his native country after a series of tax hikes by Socialist President Francois Hollande on the wealthy. …

Senesael said Depardieu would join some 2,800 French living in the same area a few minutes drive from the border, including the Mulliez family, owners of French hypermarket chain Auchan and Decathlon sports stores, who have lived there for years.

Belgian residents do not pay wealth tax, which in France is now slapped on individuals with assets over 1.3 million euros, nor do they pay capital gains tax on the sale of shares.

Apparently, certain (i.e., Socialist) French politicians were genuinely dismayed over the actor’s move:

“It is sad because he is a great actor and someone I know and like,” said Bertrand Delanoe, the Socialist mayor of Paris. “He is a generous man but in this instance he is not showing that.”

Jean-Francois Cope, one of the leaders of the main right wing opposition group, the UMP, also expressed his regret, while pointing the finger of blame at President Francois Hollande’s tax policies.

“I don’t want to cast judgement but it is distressing for the country and its image,” Cope said. “You don’t see leading business figures or huge stars moving out of Belgium, Britain, Germany or Italy.”

Ah yes, the unmitigated gall of not being too keen on the government confiscating three quarters of your income — how very unpatriotic of him.

I would say “let this be a lesson for the United States,” except that President Obama is already willfully following in Europe’s financially calamitous footsteps. Hiking taxes, and subsequently moving money out of the private sector and laundering it through the federal government, is not going to help us achieve the level of economic growth we so desperately need. France’s business arena is already contracting, and in anticipation of higher taxes, Americans are obviously moving to protect what they can, via Bloomberg:

The wealthy look set to enjoy a windfall in the closing weeks of the year as companies push money out the door to beat the higher tax rates advocated by President Barack Obama.

More than 150 companies, from Costco Wholesale Corp. to Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS), have declared special dividends totaling about $20 billion this quarter to avoid anticipated tax increases in 2013, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Others, including law and private-equity firms, probably will pay bonuses, partnership distributions and commissions early for tax reasons, according to Lou Crandall, chief economist at Wrightson ICAP LLC in Jersey City, New Jersey. …

Much of that will go to upper-income Americans, the very people Obama has targeted to pay higher taxes…

Reports in Europe today showed French business confidence and industrial production unexpectedly declined as President Francois Hollande grapples with a budget deficit and an economy that is on the verge of recession.