As for income inequality, France is certainly much less unequal than the U.S. But France’s top 1 percent still held 22 percent of the country’s wealth at the beginning of 2018. That was despite a draconian effort by the previous Socialist government to impose a super-tax on high earners. It raised scant revenue while accelerating the exodus of the rich. Like many European attempts at imposing a wealth tax, it was quickly repealed.
All of this should stand as a stark warning to Democrats. France has the highest overall tax take among O.E.C.D. countries (46.9 percent of G.D.P.), the highest rate of government spending, (56.38 percent of G.D.P.), the highest rate of safety-net spending, and the third highest rate of pension spending.
Whatever else all this taxing and spending might be doing, it’s clearly not creating jobs or prosperity. As for making people happy, France doesn’t break the top 20 in this year’s World Happiness Report. Even Mexico ranks higher.