Here was Francois Hollande, the Socialist presidential front-runner in France, back in January: “Let me tell you who my rival is. It does not bear a name or have a face, it’s the finance industry. In the past twenty years, the financial industry has taken control of our societies, of our lives and threatens our states.” In London the following month, this was Hollande’s way of dialing back his speech in a talk with investors: “I am not dangerous… [still], there must be regulation everywhere.”If Barack Obama repeated anything half as bold as what was said here, I'm pretty sure the entire David Brooks would commit seppuku on the White House lawn.
And Jean Luc Melenchon, a one-time Trotskyist who was running on Hollande’s left, didn’t even make that minor concession. “I’m dangerous!,” he told the Guardian proudly. “Dangerous for financial interests, and dangerous for the oligarchy in France and Europe.”
...Hollande has proposed subjecting all income above $1.34 million to a 75 percent tax. Melenchon, for his part, had been demanding a 100 percent tax on any income over $500,000 per year. That meant current president Nicolas Sarkozy was the tax conservative in the race: Having already enacted a comparatively meager 4 percent surcharge on high incomes, he was merely content to propose an “exit tax” on French citizens who moved abroad. Melanchon, for his part, wasn’t so worried about rich French people fleeing the country: “If they do, no problem. Bye bye.”...
Sarkozy set the standard for France’s approach to bank regulation by passing a 0.1 percent tax on all financial transactions within the country. (His efforts to spread this tax around the world has been opposed by the Obama administration.) Hollande, meanwhile, wants to go even further, separating retail and investment banking, banning “toxic” financial products, and preventing French banks from operating in tax havens.
Hollande wants to limit the pay of CEOs at state-owned companies to 20 times the lowest worker wage. That’s no small thing: Even after decades of privatization, state-owned company holdings account for about 5 percent of GDP in France, a category that includes the railway company, various airports, and the nuclear industry. (Melanchon, by the way, wants to try to reverse this privatization trend and nationalize France’s biggest energy companies.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
The French Election is Awesome
Anyone want to close your eyes and dream about hearing things like this in our presidential election? Taken from wonkblog: