Tuesday, December 18, 2012

French Actor Gérard Depardieu's Reply to Prime Minister Ayrault

 Conservatives and reputable economists for years have argued and used income tax data to show that high marginal income tax rates result in lower tax revenue as people adjust their work to reduce income and the tax burden or avoid the tax by leaving the jurisdiction.

So it was no surprise when French actor Gérard Depardieu, best known as the star of the world-wide 1990 hit movie Green Card, quietly relocated his residence to the Belgium town of  Néchin, located a stone's throw from the French border, earlier this month.

It was obvious that Depardieu's move, like that of many other wealthy French people in recent weeks, was in reaction to Socialist French President François Hollande's plans to levy a 75% tax on incomes above 1 million euros.

Most of the others left France quietly as Depardieu tried to do.  However, unlike some of the others who ignored the insults from socialist government officials and France's far left press, Gérard Depardieu reacted publicly and with anger this past weekend following last Wednesday's (Dec 12) harsh and insulting comments about him by France's Socialist Prime Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault.

Speaking on the television channel France 2, the Prime Minister referred to Depardieu's decision to leave France as being "rather pathetic."   Adding “He’s a great star, everyone loves him as an artist,... [but] to pay a tax is an act of solidarity, a patriotic act.”

The actor responded the Prime Minister's comments with a three page, open letter that was published in the Saturday (December 15th) edition of the French weekly Journal du Dimarche.

In his letter, which I translated using Google Translate, Depardieu starts by writing:

Miserable, you say "pathetic"? As it is pathetic.

I was born in 1948. I started working at the age of 14 years as a printer, then as a warehouseman then as dramatic artist. I always paid my taxes regardless of the rate under all governments.

He goes on to state that he has always paid his taxes, including his 2012 taxes and further notes that over his 45 year career he as paid over 145 million in taxes to the French government. 

In a telling line he states:  I am leaving because you consider that success, creativity, talent, in fact, the difference must be punished.  

And toward the end of the letter he adds, 

I am a free being, sir,...

These last two comments reveal what the true objectives of socialist leaders like French President Hollande and U.S. President Obama with their tax the rich policies.  The goal here is to discourage individual initiative and freedom and, instead replace it with dependency on government.

While not good for freedom loving individuals, this is the perfect prescription for big government politicians who want to ensure the continued growth of big government.

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