Although François Hollande was forced to back off his campaign promise of a 75 percent tax rate on the wealthiest French earners, a one-time levy passed by the French Socialist president’s government resulted in more than 8,000 French households owing more than 100 percent of their yearly income in taxes last year. The tax surcharge, intended to offset tax-capping measures instituted by Hollande’s predecessor, applied to households with assets of more than 1.3 million euros ($1.67 million).
Because of the levy, some 12,000 households paid taxes worth more than 75 percent of their 2011 incomes — a tax rate recently ruled unfair and confiscatory by France’s Constitutional Council.
If that sounds like just another broke-European-nation scheme, it’s worth recalling: The highest marginal tax rate in American history was 94 percent on top earners in 1944 — and FDR had initially instituted a 100 percent tax rate on top incomes via executive order.
Plus ça change . . .