October 22, 2013
Sovereign Valley Farm, Chile
At our workshop in Chile some months ago, European MEP Nigel Farage blasted French President Francois Hollande as leading the pack "in the modern day Pantheon of idiots who are running countries around the world..."
(You can see Nigel's scathing remarks here, about 35 seconds in to the clip: http://youtu.be/UZap5n3zGZ8)
Of course, the French president had recently introduced a 'hate tax' on its countries most successful people, driving out whatever few productive people remain in France.
But this hate tax was just the tip of le iceberg.
Just look at what they've done or announced just in the last month:
1) Double the corporate surtax
It's not enough that France has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the developed world. On top of this, they have a corporate 'surtax', or a tax on top of the tax.
And earlier this month, they announced plans to DOUBLE it.
2) Increase reporting obligations
Anyone who has ever started a business knows that a new business is like a newborn baby. It's critical to focus on growth, not on filling out a bunch of paperwork.
The French government doesn't care about this. So they've recently LOWERED the bar for reporting obligations, requiring a businesses with top-line revenue of just 80,000 euros to submit time consuming and onerous VAT reports to the tax authorities.
3) Increased pension tax
France has one of the most bankrupt... and unsustainably generous... pension systems in the world.
But rather than completely overhauling the system and expect people to, you know, actually work past the age of 55, they've just decided to raise the pension tax. Again.
4) Energy drink tax
Not to be outdone by Michael Bloomberg's soda tax in New York City, the French National Assembly has recently proposed to tax energy drinks... as much as ONE EURO ($1.37) per can.
5) Higher property taxes
Last month, the French government announced plans to revise property value assessments across the country, which serves as the basis for a number of property taxes.
6) Data tax [my personal favorite]
You can't make this stuff up.
In one of the most absurd tax propositions in history, the French government now has the idea that they should tax data transfers outside the European Union.
They actually plan on proposing this at this week's European Summit. Strangely, though, they don't seem to even understand what this means. They're just so desperate to tax something... anything. They're just monkeys throwing darts at the wall right now.
And they're getting ready for more.
Earlier this year, the French government promised a 'tax pause' in 2014, suggesting that they would not raise taxes next year.
Last month, though, they revised this pledge, saying that the tax pause would take effect in 2015 instead.
Needless to say, there will be no pause in 2015.
Why? Because France is broke. Like so many other nations across the West, France has been rendered completely insolvent by decades of unsustainable spending.
France has been in this position before. In the 18th century, the French Bourbon monarchy was the pinnacle of civilization.
Yet decades of unsustainable spending took their toll on the economy. They tried everything-- raising taxes, debasing the currency... yet their was no avoiding the inevitable. Revolution.
And this period of turmoil, from the time the French people stormed the Bastille, to the time when calm prevailed, took 26-years.
In the meantime, they had internal civil war, external war against both Austria and Prussia, hyperinflation, and the genocidal dictatorship of Robespierre.
Conditions are similar now, both in France and across the West. This includes the Land of the Free.
We have reached a time where it's imperative to look abroad at different options and opportunities. Clinging to blind patriotism-- staying home, doing nothing, and trusting your government-- is akin to taking a toaster into the bathtub.
Wealth and power have constantly shifted throughout history. And the transitions are rarely smooth or peaceful. It's foolish to assume that this time is any different.