French govt looking to beef up its already huge tax burden; French soccer teams doth protest

Francois Hollande, the now deeply unpopular Socialist president of France, has come up with some crazy and ill-advised schemes during his barely eighteen months in office in the attempt to reduce the GDP-squandering effects of France’s running budget deficit, most of which have demonstrated a relentless determination to tax any and all prospects for growth out of existence. Most curiously, it seems like the negative consequences of all of the spending and uncertainty are finally having an effect on France’s otherwise lethargic commitment to big government, via Anne-Elisabeth Moutet at the Telegraph (emphases mine):

A poll on the front page of last Tuesday’s Le Monde… translated into stark figures the winter of François Hollande’s discontent.

More than 70 per cent of the French feel taxes are “excessive”, and 80 per cent believe the president’s economic policy is “misguided” and “inefficient”. This goes far beyond the tax exiles such as Gérard Depardieu, members of the Peugeot family or Chanel’s owners. Worse, after decades of living in one of the most redistributive systems in western Europe, 54 per cent of the French believe that taxes – of which there have been 84 new ones in the past two years, rising from 42 per cent of GDP in 2009 to 46.3 per cent this year – now widen social inequalities instead of reducing them.

By 2014, France’s public expenditure will overtake Denmark’s to become the world’s highest: 57 per cent of GDP. In effect, just to keep in the same place, like a hamster on a wheel, and ensure that the European Central Bank in Frankfurt isn’t too unhappy with us, Hollande now needs cash. Technocrats, MPs and ministers have been instructed to find every euro they can rake in – in deferred benefits, cancelled tax credits, extra levies.

Besides the inevitable squeeze that comes from pulling euros out of the already depressed-to-stagnant economy wherever available, I wouldn’t think that the very public display of outrage about to come from the sporting world is going to do anything to improve Hollande’s underwater approval ratings. Via the Financial Times:

François Hollande has bent over backwards since becoming France’s president to avoid provoking the Gallic propensity to strike. Now, of all unlikely sources, he faces a weekend of strike action by the country’s football clubs, who have instructed players to hang up their boots in protest against his 75 per cent income tax rate.

Angrily condemning the “unfair and discriminatory” tax for threatening to cripple struggling clubs, Jean-Pierre Louvel, head of the UCPF, the professional football club union, declared on Thursday: “We are talking about the death of French football.” …

The 75 per cent tax, a key Hollande election pledge, which is set to take effect from next year, will be levied on employers who must pay it for two years on all annual salaries above €1m. …

“We are already the most taxed league in Europe and the other leagues are already much stronger than us,” complained Mr Louvel.