A New Lord Of Taxation
Jeremy Hetherington-Gore Unleashed
31 August, 2008
What is it with the French and tax? They just can't seem to leave the economy alone for more than five minutes.
Although they are not the highest taxed country on earth - the lugubrious Scandinavians occupy the top spots - the French are well up there at number four. In 1965 the government took just 35% of GDP (high, for the time). By 2003 they had reached 45%, and any moment now they will top 50%.
M Sarkozy hardly lets a month go by without proposing a new tax. This year alone we have had the RSA (Revenue Solidarite Active), a global windfall tax on oil companies' profits, a tax on internet connections, mobile phone usage and a levy on the advertising revenues of commercial television stations, increased taxes on the use of materials currently contributing to global warming, and an increase in the tax on stock options.
After last week's announcement of the RSA, business chief Laurence Parisot said: "You can't just increase taxes - or add new ones - every time you need to fulfill a new objective. If we add up everything that has been decided by the government in recent times, there's ground to get worried."
But they have cloth ears at the Elysee.
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