Thursday, August 25, 2011

Actual patriotism amongst the rich … in France

| »
Liliane Bettencourt
Liliane Bettencourt

In the US, you are considered a patriot (at least by some) if you go around clamoring for your own elected leader to fail and for your government to be overthrown and replaced by anti-reality theocrats. Elsewhere, you are considered a patriot if you actually do something to help your country, especially if no-one even asked you to in the first place. Cue France [original emphasis]:

The French government will add an extra tax of 3 percent on annual income above 500,000 euros ($721,000). Prime Minister said the increase will remain in place until France’s deficit is back under 3 percent of its GDP, and the tax increase comes after some of France’s wealthiest citizens asked for a tax increase in a spirit of “solidarity.”

More details from the BBC:

Sixteen executives, including Europe's richest woman, the L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, had offered in an open letter to pay a "special contribution" in a spirit of "solidarity".

It appeared on the website of the French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur.

It was signed by some of France's most high-profile chief executives, including Christophe de Margerie of oil firm Total, Frederic Oudea of bank Societe Generale, and Air France's Jean-Cyril Spinetta.

They said: "We, the presidents and leaders of industry, businessmen and women, bankers and wealthy citizens would like the richest people to have to pay a 'special contribution'."

They said they had benefited from the French system and that: "When the public finances deficit and the prospects of a worsening state debt threaten the future of France and Europe and when the government is asking everybody for solidarity, it seems necessary for us to contribute."

Traitors! Socialists! Marxists! Cheese-eating surrender monkeys!

Or – just maybe – they’re intelligent and reasonable people who realize that sharing a tiny fraction more of their considerable wealth to help their fellow countryfolk in a time of economic hardship may actually be the right thing to do. Such a radical theory, I know.