Labelled a “surging dark horse” candidate in France’s presidential election, communist Jean-Luc Mélenchon has a new proposal that he hopes will maintain his momentum: a 100% tax on the rich. Mélenchon is running as the candidate of the “Unbowed France political movement, in an alliance with the French Communist Party.”
Mélenchon is a colorful character whose repertoire includes showing up at rallies via hologram, enabling him to “appear” at seven rallies at once.
In the latest plot twist in France’s highly contentious presidential election, Mélenchon — an outspoken 65-year-old leftist who often appears on the campaign trail via hologram and who has pitched his proposal to nationalize France’s biggest banks and renegotiate its relationship with the European Union via free Internet games and YouTube videos — is now soaring in the polls.
. . . . He has more YouTube followers than all of his principal opponents combined, and he released an online video game titled “Fiscal Kombat,” in which players attack bankers and, at a higher level, Christine Lagarde, the French director of the International Monetary Fund, in the name of redistributing wealth to the masses. The game is a remake of “Mortal Kombat,” a 1990s video game familiar to many of his supporters.
If these proposals weren’t radical enough, Mélenchon has upped the ante and is proposing a scheme to cap the income level in France at €400,000.
Jean-Luc Melenchon, who has been endorsed by the French Communist Party, says he would introduce a 100% tax on income above €400,000 ($425,000).
Why €400,000? That’s 20 times higher than France’s average wage.
The top rate of income tax is currently 45%. Boosting that to 100% would effectively cap earnings at €400,000.
France already has some of the world’s highest rates of income tax, and previous attempts to push them even higher have failed.
President Francois Hollande proposed a 75% top tax rate in 2012, but the proposal was rejected by the French courts.
One of the many problems with France’s war on high earners is that they tend to leave the country when the tax burden becomes too high . . . and they take their millions with them.
Around 10,000 millionaires left the country in 2015, followed by 12,000 last year, according to New World Wealth. Movie star Gerard Depardieu is among those who have ditched France over the issue.
“I believe that there is a limit to the accumulation [of wealth],” Melenchon said in March. “If there are any who want to go abroad, well, goodbye!”
Goodbye, indeed. Australia, the United States, and a host of other countries are rolling out the welcome mat for France’s millionaires.