Why Gerard Depardieu moved to Belgium

| December 11 2012
Christopher Cook

What happened?

A Belgian mayor says famed French actor Gerard Depardieu has bought a home and set up legal residence in his small town . . .

Why did it happen?

 . . . lured by the food, the people, the lifestyle — and lower tax rates than back home.

The Socialist government under French President Francois Hollande has infuriated many ultra-rich in France by presenting a 2013 budget that would tax top earners at 75 percent over the first €1 million of annual income. Belgium’s top rate is 50 percent.

This is going to continue to happen, for a simple cycle of reasons.

Governments have overspent and accrued massive debts. They do not have the money to pay for them. Their business-crushing taxation and regulatory policies have harmed economic growth, so revenues are down.

Their solution is to say that the rich aren’t paying their “fair share,” and to pretend that the rich have enough money to cover the massive debts. (THEY DO NOT.) So, they call the rich greedy and covetous, and pass new taxation laws to take more of their money. This has several effects.

  1. The politicians, using this class-based demagoguery, are able to stay in power for a little while longer on the strength of the votes of lower-income people. Those people are frightened, having been impoverished by the politicans’ job-killing, anti-business policies, and, ignorant of that fact, are swayed by the politicians’ class-warfare rhetoric.
  2. Some rich people change their behavior, moving their money into less productive investments that shield it from the new taxes.
  3. Others move away entirely, like Depardieu

That is the cycle. It brings in no new revenue. The politicians make the problem they created even worse by creating a whole new set of problems.

This is bad.

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