The Decline of France … as the rich, the young, the productive, begin to flee.

frenchflagtravelersFrance today is trapped by a welfare state that it is both addicted to and can no longer afford, a welfare state where high taxes and stifling regulation are killing economic opportunity. And the successful in France have had enough.

Her best and brightest are leaving to live elsewhere in Europe.  Many have settled in London, now the “6th largest French city”. According to one poll in Le Point, half of all young adults in France would leave the country if they could because the future looks so bleak. The most recent statistics available show 26,000 French families left in 2010, and 35,000 in 2011.

Tax lawyer Jean-Philippe Delsol and author of the book “Why I Am Going to Leave France” said the problem in France is taxation and regulation.  It’s too hard to start a company, hire people, or fire them if need be. More than half of France’s workforce is living off the state, either in a government job or on welfare. Delsol warns America NOT to follow the example of France, as apparently it is with Obama care and an ever increasing welfare state.

The French president says he doesn’t like rich people while our American president, and leftist candidates Hillary and Bernie call them (not “hard working” or great role models)  … but “privileged and “greedy”.  Thus on both sides of the Atlantic envy rather than emulation is the response of the intelligentsia to those earning the most and pay the highest taxes.

Are “the rich” in America or France greedy, selfish, and privileged?

Here is a paradox for Bernie and Hillary. Their economic plans center on “taxing the rich”. Suppose for an instant “the rich” can pay for their plans (they can’t really). Is it not a wonderful thing therefore that there exists “the rich”? Without the rich therefore, we all would be in “doo-doo land” … yet Bernie and Hillary would have us believe they hate the rich and in their utopias there would be no rich. All that Bern and Hill can offer is “take from the rich”. Their ideology does not explain how to become rich or even who the rich are.

Who exactly are “the rich”?

Socialists would have us believe it is a specific group of greedy, scheming individuals.  Their claim is a lie. “The rich” is an income percentile, a category into which and from which individuals come and go.  They are the Super Bowl team but only for the current year. A student graduating from medical school would be considered “poor” especially if he has a large bill.  In 10 years of hard work (after 10 years of hard study) his income may place him into the top category.  Is this the person whom Hill and Bernie are after?

An Internal Revenue Service study discerned that in the decade from 1996 to 2005, those in the bottom quintile saw their income rise by 91%, while those in the “top 1%” saw their incomes fall by 26%. Over half of all taxpayers change quintiles in any decade. In the United States, most households (56%) at some point find themselves in the top 10% of incomes. It is not a specific social class that moves upward in income, but all Americans that work hard and earn more as they age.  Therefore, hostility towards the rich is hostility towards over half of all Americans, if “rich” is defined as the top 10% of incomes.

Suppose Bernie DID confiscate 100%  of the income earned by the “greedy one percent” … an income level reached by 12% of Americans and which already pays 45.7 percent of all income taxes.  He would net only $616 billion and be able to do it only once.

My free advice is for them to study how the Chinese, Cubans, Germans, Jews … and other successful immigrant groups started poor and became rich in America. It is the descendants of these immigrants that Bern and Hill that are “the rich” today. Taking from “the rich” means taking from the children and grandchildren of immigrants. Does that make Bern and Hill “anti-immigrant”?

Every nation needs its “rich”.  Thomas Sowell writes in “Wealth, Poverty and Politics” (2015) page 236: When China adopted market oriented reforms under Deng Xiaoping, he famously said “Let some people get rich first”. After the reforms, the economic growth rate hit new highs. Incomes rose but were not evenly distributed. Inequality increased, but absolute incomes rose lifting literally hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.

When the powers of the central government become immense as they are today, it can align with selected corporations to grant them immunity from control by the people. Greed and lust for power is an affliction of all men … in bankers as well as politicians.  It is allowed to persist in capitalism however, thanks to bureaucrats wielding the power of a huge central government. As they pick winners and losers in the market, they usurp from the people the power to reward and punish. The government interferes by granting bailouts, subsidies, exemptions from onerous regulations, etc. to privileged corporations.  Chrysler, GM, Solyndra, and General Electric are recent examples.

Privileged corporations return the favor by supporting privileged bureaucrats in a cycle of mutual corruption.  Resources are misplaced and wealth is squandered, reflective of the failed socialist economies of the past. Efficient corporations refusing to play the game suffer and take their business overseas. Unemployment increases. Prosperity declines.
The vision of the founding fathers was a very small central government with designated powers. All other powers were to rest with the states, dispersed throughout the union.  A small government lacks the power to grant privileges that lead to corruption.  Limited government means the people decide which businesses deserve to survive. There is no “too big to fail” concept in the free market.

So we have a double paradox:  The statists in this election seek to make it harder for the honest individual through hard work to become rich … and they make it easier for corporations and existing wealthy in society to become even more corrupt.

Such is the legacy of socialism in France today … and possibly for America.

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