Obviously, when I left France 12 years ago I wasn’t expecting that the U.S. would be going down such a terrible path today. The silver lining, however, is that I am not in France. We already know about the Socialist candidate Francois Hollande calling for a 75 percent marginal rate on high-income taxpayers (to the complete surprise of his advisers, by the way). Now, President Sarkozy is calling for protectionist policies such as “Made in France,” and he declared that he would go as far as closing the borders if need be:
With barely six weeks to go before the first round of voting, and with the French leader’s Socialist opponent Francois Hollande still frontrunner for the presidency, Sarkozy struck a strident new tone in a Sunday rally.
He threatened to pull France out of the Schengen open borders agreement and demanded the European Union adopt measures to fight cheap imports, warning that France might otherwise pass a unilateral “Buy French” law.
“I want a Europe that protects its citizens. I no longer want this savage competition,” he declared to a cheering crowd. “I have lost none of my will to act, my will to make things change, my belief in the genius of France.”
Interestingly, while Hollande is getting hammered because his proposal is threatening the French’s favorite sport, Sarkozy is appealing to the worst instincts of his people. According to an IFOP poll, 76 percent approve of the two proposals and 59 percent are in favor of pulling out of the Schengen agreement. But if Sarko is getting some points at home for his protectionist push, the rest of Europe isn’t happy with him.
Sadly, interviewed last night on French TV, the president made it clear that he would like to copy more bad ideas from America. Because “Made is France” isn’t a stupid enough idea for one night, he has announced that he would like to start taxing French people who have left France, for tax reasons, on their foreign income (the Republicans passed that law in the U.S. in 1996).