It’s now official. The top tax rate in France is now 75% for those who make over a million euros. Moreover, there is a new band of 45% for those who make over 150,000 euros. Don’t forget the existing VAT on all purchases.

Europe is imploding and instead of fixing onerous work rules, France Hits Rich and Business to Slash Deficit.

Socialist President Francois Hollande unveiled higher levies on business and a 75-percent tax for the super-rich on Friday in a 2013 budget aimed at showing France has the fiscal rigor to remain at the core of the euro zone.

Of the total 30 billion euros of savings, around 20 billion will come from tax increases on households and companies, with tax rises already approved this year to contribute some 4 billion euros to revenues in 2013. The freeze on spending will contribute around 10 billion euros.

To the dismay of business leaders who fear an exodus of top talent, the government confirmed a temporary 75 percent super-tax rate for earnings over one million euros and a new 45 percent band for revenues over 150,000 euros.

Tough New Measures or Idiotic Measures?

The Financial Times reports France unveils tough budget measures

The measures announced on Friday included the controversial 75 per cent marginal tax rate on earned income above €1m a year, put in place for two years.

But, as promised by President François Hollande, France was largely spared the kinds of hefty cuts in public spending, pensions and salaries imposed in other eurozone countries struggling to contain their sovereign debt.

The official forecast of 0.8 per cent growth next year is above most independent forecasts, but Mr Pierre Moscovici [finance minister] said: “I am certain that if Europe steadies, then we are going to achieve this 0.8 per cent or more.”

For starters, with government spending in France accounting for 55% of GDP, those are not “Tough Measures” those are idiotic measures. France needs to reduce government spending and ease work rules. Instead it has tightened pressure on companies laying off workers.

If Wishes Were Fishes

The French Finance minister is “certain that if Europe steadies, France will achieve 0.8 per cent growth or more”. That is about as meaningful as this statement by me “I am certain that if I had a billion dollars, I would be a billionaire”.

Simply put, neither Europe nor France is going to steady, but given France’s growth is currently 0%, steady would not be enough anyway.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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