Flight of the FrenchSource: Newsweek (adapted)Sept 26th/Oct 3rd 2005The Belgians call them "fiscal refugees", but these refugees
wear Chanel. They are runaways from high taxes in France. Officially,
France has lost, on average, one millionaire or billionaire tax payer
per day for tax reasons since 1997, when the government started trying
to track capital flight. Privately, economists say the number is much
higher. "The statistic is stupid," holds French economist Nicolas
Baverez. "It's as if, to count contraband, you only counted what people
declared at the border."While much of Europe has
revised its tax codes, France's fiscal inertia is virtually begging its
rich to leave. Holding dear its commitment to égalité and fraternité,
France has bucked the trend in the European Union, where most member
states have dropped the wealth tax since the mid-1990s. France went the
opposite way in 1997 by abolishing a cap that limited the wealth-tax
bill, which kicks in at incomes over 720,000 euros to 85% of a
taxpayer's income. The result: some pay more taxes than they earn in
income.According to the author, France
a) might change its fiscal system.
b) must preserve its wealth tax.
c) has not changed its fiscal policy.
d) ought to slash its public spending.
e) could lose from a tax reform.