Yesterday French actor Gerard Dépardieu announced he was taking up legal residence in a small village just over the border in Belgium, alongside hundreds of other wealthy French nationals seeking lower taxes.
Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault blasted those who are trying to keep some of their hard earned Euros by moving.
"Those who are seeking exile abroad are not those who are scared of becoming poor," the prime minister declared after unveiling sweeping anti-poverty measures to help those hit by the economic crisis.And it was not just the Prime Minister who blasted the actor for trying to avoid the threatened 75% tax rate:
These individuals are leaving "because they want to get even richer," he said. "We cannot fight poverty if those with the most, and sometimes with a lot, do not show solidarity and a bit of generosity," he added.
"Thankfully, few are seeking exile to exempt themselves from being in solidarity with fellow Frenchmen."
Socialist MP Yann Galut called for the actor to be "stripped of his nationality" if he failed to pay his dues in his mother country, saying the law should be changed to enable such a punishment.It seems as if the actor is very lucky the French have abandoned the guillotine.
Benoît Hamon, the consumption minister, said the move amounted to giving France "the finger" and was "anti-patriotic".
In a stinging editorial, Libération, the left-leaning daily, called him a "drunken, obese petit-bourgeois reactionary". Le Monde mockingly exclaimed: "Bravo l'artiste!", pointing out he had chosen to make his move "on the eve of a national conference on poverty".
Belgian income and inheritance taxes are lower than in France, and unlike France, Belgium does not impose a tax on personal wealth, making it attractive for entrepreneurs.This is one of the reasons why higher taxes lead to lower revenues. The rich can afford to find ways to shelter their money and even worse they can afford to move to a cheaper country. And in the end who can blame them. They work hard and take risks with their money only to be penalized for being successful. Left with a choice of ending their careers because they tire of working for less than half of what they earn, or leaving their homeland they choose leaving. This is a lesson Obama and his progressive friends should learn from....but they wont.
Among Mr Depardieu's neighbours in the village of Nechin will be members of the Mulliez family, who own the Auchan supermarket chain.
France's richest man Bernard Arnault admitted this summer that he had applied for Belgian citizenship, although he insisted it had nothing to do with paying lower taxes.