France finally abandons that 75 percent tax on the wealthy

As one of his many supposedly social-justice oriented campaign pledges, French President Francois Hollande proposed a 75 percent income tax on people making more than a million euros, but he’s been struggling to make it happen ever since he entered office — but reports of a growing exodus of the wealthy, an inopportune business climate, and the top French court’s recent rejection of the idea have finally persuaded the government to throw the proposal onto the intellectual rubbish heap where it belongs.

But don’t get too excited — we’re talking about a government run by Socialists with a capital “S” here, after all:

The French government threw in the towel Friday on plans to levy a 75% tax on the rich, a key election pledge of President François Hollande, and acknowledged it wasn’t clear how it would hike taxes on the country’s wealthiest citizens.

After receiving advice from the country’s top administrative court, French finance minister Pierre Moscovici said that the top tax rate applied to earned income couldn’t exceed 60%, and that the maximum rate on a taxpayer’s revenue could not rise above 66% overall. …

The decision definitively kills the controversial tax plan that some real-estate agents say has already helped fuel an exodus of France’s super rich, while some corporate executives say it has weighed on their ability to attract and retain highly-paid workers.

Which is such a shame, because I’m sure the 75-percent plan was a good-faith, substantive effort to legitimately raise money to solve the country’s debt crisis, and not just a low-down populist gesture to stick it to those filthy rich, right? Well…

The 75% tax was expected to apply to around 1,500 people and yield some €210 million in 2013—a highly symbolic fraction of the country’s budget of about €300 billion.

Typical. France’s economy is stalling out; unemployment is above ten percent; they’re breaking their eurozone-pledge to keep the deficit at less than three percent of GDP and avoiding austerity measures; and Hollande’s popularity recently plummeted to the lowest level in three decades. How do you say “strugglebus” in French?