More information is now surfacing about newly elected French President Francois Hollande. It’s not that the information was hidden, but now that he has been elected, his calls to aggressively tax the rich have more significance. However, it’s more than aggressively tax the rich. He hates the rich.
According to French journalist Nabila Ramdani, Hollander will “strike fear” in to the “hearts of the rich”:
The 57-year-old Socialist has openly admitted that he “does not like the rich” and declared that “my real enemy is the world of finance”. This means taxing the wealthy by up to 75 per cent, curtailing the activities of Paris as a centre for financial dealing, and ploughing millions into creating more civil service jobs.
This means more than just taxing the wealthy, this means a full on, frontal assault on Capitalism. Certainly, outgoing French President Nicholas Sarkozy was no friend to open markets, but Hollande’s talk is far more ugly, and is reminiscent of the Occupy movement who feel Capitalism is the root of all evil.
Recently, on Sean Hannity’s FOX program “Hannity,” Occupy spokesperson/organizer/anarchist Harrison Schultz stated: (emphasis mine)
Anarchy isn’t easy….The problem here is capitalism. That’s what needs to change. That’s what failing all these people…I’m looking at far far more radical alternatives than political alternatives.
People can have multiple views on what “far, far more radical alternatives” can be. However, Hollande has specific views on those who have attained financial success. Exactly how will Hollande “curtail” financial activities in Paris? What, exactly, will be those civil service jobs that will cost millions of Euros? What will their pensions and benefits be? How will they get paid for in the long term? Already, wealthy French citizens are looking for ways to get out of the country.
When referring to something (in this case, the “world of finance,” which is, to say, Capitalism) as the “enemy,” one can easily assume that your response in how to deal with it will be, like the Occupy movement, a “radical alternative.”
Ramdani also added:
Add an explicit threat to renegotiate the euro pact to replace austerity with “growth-creating” spending, and you have one of the most vehemently left-wing programmes in recent history.
Does “growth-creating spending” equate to stimulus, as has been tried to nil success in the United States? Perhaps: (emphasis mine)
Shortly after his victory…Hollande announced he will make his proposals for a “pact of responsibility, growth and governance”…“Austerity can no longer be the only option,” added the Socialist president-elect.
Stimulating growth through old-style Keynesianism is,however, out of the question: “The means cannot be extra public spending, since we want to rein it in, nor can they be tax relief, which is forbidden,” Hollande told Slate.fr.
All along his presidential campaign he has championed four proposals at European level: increasing the capital of the European Investment Bank (EIB), a financial transaction tax (FTT), remobilising structural funds toward growth and creating eurobonds or project bonds….Bridge-building will be necessary as the new French president is unlikely to settle for non-binding growth measures as was the case at the March European Council. (German Chancellor Angela) Merkel has already invited Hollande to Berlin to hold talks, touted to take place within a week at the earliest. Previously, the chancellor had publicly declared her support for Sarkozy.
Its certainly good to hear that Keynesianism is “out of the question,” but the financial transaction tax in question is definitively Keynesian. It was economist John Maynard Keynes who suggested the tax as a way keeping speculators in check. In 1971, it was again brought forward by American Economist James Tobin, and is often referred to as the Tobin Tax.
President Obama has been echoing the themes put forth by Hollande. The Buffett Rule would add a 30% tax on income over $1 million. His latest budget, based on the idea of “growth,” would add $3.5 trillion to the deficit through 2022. And Obama’s financial reform – The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act – in their own words, provides “assistance” by, “…imposing tough new capital and leverage requirements that make it undesirable to get too big…” and, “…Strengthens oversight and empowers regulators to aggressively pursue financial fraud, conflicts of interest and manipulation of the system that benefits special interests at the expense of American families and businesses.”
Said another way, it “curtails” the world of finance. There are 183 days until Election Day in the United States.