Insanely High "Millionaire Tax" Coming to France

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 30 2013 11:59 AM

Insanely High "Millionaire Tax" Coming to France

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French President François Hollande has instituted a new, insanely high tax on the rich—but he's not exactly at the peak of popularity.

Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The Constitutional Council of France formally approved the government’s “millionaire tax” on Sunday, meaning the country’s top earners are about to pay a whole lot more into the public fisc. A central plank of President François Hollande’s Socialist Party platform, the tax collects 50 percent of wages above 1 million euros earned at French companies in 2013 and 2014. About 470 companies and a dozen soccer clubs will qualify for the levy. 

Understandably, the move has outraged the business community in France, which once threatened to go on strike if the measure passed and has vowed to continue fighting it. Gérard Depardieu even allegedly fled France to Belgium in order to escape the tax. (One left-leaning French newspaper’s response: "Beat it, rich jerk!") But it’s likely that most high-earning French companies will simply have to accept the tax for now, while battling the political party that instituted it. That shouldn’t be too difficult: Hollande is now the most unpopular French president of all time, sporting an anemic 26 percent approval rating among French citizens. If Hollande can’t improve those numbers, he might find himself booted out of office—and none of his rivals are particularly friendly to a socialistic tax scheme. 

Mark Joseph Stern is a writer for Slate. He covers science, the law, and LGBTQ issues.

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