Once upon a time a couple found a goose that laid one golden egg per day. Greedy and impatient for more gold than their daily allotment, the couple killed the goose after a few weeks, certain they would find a huge golden lump in its stomach. To their surprise and dismay they discovered the goose had ordinary insides; they had destroyed their source of gold. This ancient tale of greed and impatience, jealousy and self destruction is as relevant today as when first propounded in Aesop's Fables so long ago.
Government officials who blithely talk of punishing/taxing "the rich" to fund their redistribution schemes soon discover that "the rich", the golden goose if you will, are no more. Some decide not to work so hard, following the adage it isn't what you make, it is what you keep. Others decide to keep it--somewhere else.
This is happening in France. France, which limits working hours but makes it practically impossible to fire anyone, has decided to implement a 75% tax rate on all earnings above approximately one and half million dollars. As a result the geese, in this case wealthy French individuals, have decided to flee France to other, less greedy refuges. The latest to do so is French actor Gerard Depardieu.
Gerard Depardieu has become the latest rich Frenchman to flee his country and the stinging wealth taxes levied by Francois Hollande, the Socialist President of France.
The film star has bought a property in Nechin, a Belgian village near the border with France, which has become a colony for French exiles fleeing President Hollande's tax rate of 75 per cent on all earnings over €1 million.
And how did the French react to the loss of their golden goose, er, prominent, wealthy star? With shock and dismay.
Speaking on Monday, Pierre Moscovici, the French finance minister, warned of ﾓle French bashingﾔ over the new wealth tax and general state of France's economy under the first Socialist president for 17 years.
"What is worst thing for me is to read in the newspapers that the exile begins, businesses flee. The French bashing is frightening," he said.
In other words, the truth hurts. Once again, the actor/goose was an ordinary man with an extraordinary talent for generating wealth. And now he will no longer do it.
Some things never change.