France Ratchets Up the War on Cash

France’s state auditing bureau, Cour des Comptes, informed the French government that it was “dreaming” in forecasting that the French economy would grow this year by 0.8 percent, which would enable it to meet its budget deficit target of 3 percent of GDP. The bureau told French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault that a growth rate of 0.3 percent was more like it, which would not be sufficient to meet the deficit reduction target. This was the case despite–or more likely because of–the fact that a broad based tax increase had just been imposed that would extract another €32 billion euros from overburdened French businesses and households this year. So would a desperate Ayrault finally open his eyes to economic reality and slash the budget of the bureaucratic and bloated French State, a budget that is liberally larded with fascistic corporate welfare subsidies and bailouts? No way, no how. Instead Ayrault convened a meeting of the National Anti-Fraud Committee to crack down on tax cheats and presided over it himself–”A first for a head of government,” he crowed.

Tax fraud in France has been estimated to be in the range of €60 to €80 billion annually. Buried in Ayrault’s proposal to crack down on tax cheats and further squeeze more revenue from its “fiscal residents”–those citizens and foreigners who have not been driven into part-time exile to escape French taxes–is a draconian provision that would lower the maximum cash payment per transaction from €3,000 to €1,000. Under the new limit a French citizen would not even be able to buy a used car for cash. The provision would not apply, however, to citizens and foreigners wealthy and savvy enough to have placed their income beyond the clutches of the rapacious French State by becoming fiscal residents of other countries. They would be subject to a limit of €10,000 per purchase in cash, down from the current limit of €15,000 per purchase. This may come to be called the Depardieu exception because French actor Gerard Depardieu recently caused a public stir by obtaining a Russian passport in order to take advantage of Russia’s flat-rate income tax of 13 percent.

One commentator perceptively summed up the inextricable link between the war on cash and the war on personal liberties:

With this law, the French government will be able to tighten the vise on its people one more turn, restricting their freedom of choice (how to pay), wiping out any privacy in those transactions, and imposing another layer of government control. Once people have gotten used to the €1,000 limit—based on the great principle of incrementalism with which restrictions of freedom come to pass in democracies—the vise will be tightened further, until the government can document every purchase made by “fiscal residents.”

HT to Nick G.

Comments

  1. The French economy will decline this year – not expand.

    As for the American economy – the only thing that is really doing well is oil and gas production.

    Exactly the thing the government is trying to discourage.

  2. It may well happen that the irate pitchfork wielders will descend on parliament rather quickly and kick the slimys out. I have full confidence in the french.

  3. What is happening in France will happen in America within the next few years. America,like France,will turn into an economic police state. America,like France,is bankrupt. Between the New Deal,the Great Society,endless wars,bank bailouts and bloated governments on all levels the American government gravy train is so loaded that it’s running out of people to pull the wagon. After over 60 years of Cultural Marxism,the average American has been dumbed down to believe that they are entitled to all the basics of life whether they earned it or not. The sad part of the story is that the people riding the gravy train outvote the productive people who produce in the Economic Class that pull the train. Productive people think that they can keep their wealth safe by hiring good accountants and taking write offs and deductions on their taxes. Or by working much of the time “off the books.” But,as in France,those days are ending in America. The time will come where the average American won’t be “allowed” to buy,sell,work or trade without using a Tax number,probably a Social Security number. Everything that is done economically will be traceable by the tax police. Our politicians and government have sold the productive American people into bondage and tax serfdom. All the debts and unfunded liabilities that have piled up over the decades are to be taken out of the earnings of all the American workers,at all economic levels,well into the future. Brick by brick the American tax plantation has been built up over the decades. Direct Income Taxation along with Central Banking and Fiat currency has inflated the average productive American into higher and higher tax brackets. At the same time half the population pays little or no Income Taxes. Lenin once said, “We will grind the middle class between taxes and inflation.” This is what is happening in America today. Goodbye middle class, welcome to the land of “pay you fair share” tax serfdom.

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