I’m a huge fan of the French actor Gerard Depardieu. Jean de Florette is one of my all-time favourite films. But the recent wealth tax introduced in France has led Depardieu to leave the country and hand back his French passport.
If I had to pay 75% of my income in tax for the privilege of living in France, I’d probably think twice too.
One law for the rich and another for the poor was the principle that led to the French Revolution, so it’s strange to see it being reintroduced 200 years later under a socialist government. Anyway, Depardieu has now left the country and pays little or no French tax at all, so who has won this particular class war?
In Britain, the billionaire businessman Philip Green is often criticized for living in Monaco. But if he and his wife returned to the UK they would have to pay hundreds of millions of pounds in tax every year. That’s a lot of money to pay to live in Britain, especially since many people get to live here for free.
You can criticize people like Depardieu and Green all you like, but the real question that needs to be asked is, should a government impose a reasonable rate of taxation on its wealthiest citizens, or not? And if it chooses not to, then it shouldn’t be surprised if they leave the country instead of staying and paying.