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  1. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    28 Dec '12 15:41 / 5 edits
    Gerard Depardieu, one of France's most iconic and beloved film stars, is now at the center of a national uproar over French taxes and patriotism.

    Depardieu, who has been in around 200 films, says he's moving to Belgium to avoid paying a new 75 percent tax on the superwealthy. The move has divided the country and has focused attention on the Socialist government's controversial new tax policy.

    The uproar began just before Christmas, when it came to light that Depardieu bought a home in Nechin, a drab Belgian village less than a mile over the French border. Depardieu admitted to establishing a foreign residence to escape new French tax rates.

    French President Francois Hollande is counting on the rich to balance the country's budget for the first time since 1973. So Depardieu's move didn't go over well with the government.

    "It's pathetic really," Prime Minister Jean Marc Ayrault said earlier this month. "Paying taxes is an act of patriotism and we're asking the rich to make a special effort here for the country."

    Depardieu shot back at Ayrault in an open letter published in a major Sunday newspaper, Le Journal du Dimanche.

    "I am leaving because you consider success, creativity and talent grounds for sanction," the actor wrote. Depardieu said he has paid more than $190 million in taxes over the last four decades. He said he no longer recognized his country and offered to surrender his passport if he was, indeed, so pathetic.

    Though the prime minister said he regretted his initial choice of words, the battle lines were drawn.

    http://www.npr.org/2012/12/27/168143152/gerard-depardieus-tax-flight-stirs-fierce-debate-in-france



    Here's the thing. I don't blame societies for taxing the rich. After all, somebody's got to pay for the social safety nets provided for the less fortunate. But it's bizarre that these politicians think that there can be no adverse consequences to raising taxes.

    You think taxing the rich is a good idea? Fine. But be prepared to pay the piper in a free society. For a prime minister to take a private citizen to task for doing something he had every legal right to do is what is "pathetic."




    Anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one's taxes. Over and over again the Courts have said that there is nothing sinister in so arranging affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everyone does it, rich and poor alike and all do right, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands.

    - Judge Learned Hand, Gregory v. Helvering, 69 F.2d 809, 810 (2d Cir. 1934)
  2. 28 Dec '12 15:53
    So where is the debate??

    Depardieu is an entitled drunken spoiled brat and who really cares about a war of words between him and the prime minister of France??
  3. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    28 Dec '12 15:58 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by PsychoPawn
    So where is the debate??

    Depardieu is an entitled drunken spoiled brat and who really cares about a war of words between him and the prime minister of France??
    For starters, an issue for debate might be whether Depardieu is, in fact an "entitled drunken spoiled brat."

    Another point for debate might be whether it is appropriate for a national head of government to call out a private citizen for ridicule for undertaking an action that is within the law.

    A third point may be whether governments would be realistic to assume that there will be little pushback against a high tax policy.
  4. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    28 Dec '12 16:00
    Originally posted by sh76
    You think taxing the rich is a good idea? Fine. But be prepared to pay the piper in a free society. For a prime minister to take a private citizen to task for doing something he had every legal right to do is what is "pathetic."
    The problem with the French is that they don't have a word for pathetic.
  5. 28 Dec '12 16:02 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by sh76
    For starters, an issue for debate might be whether Depardieu is, in fact an "entitled drunken spoiled brat."
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2026990/Gerard-Depardieu-urinates-plane-hes-refused-permission-to-toilet.html

    I don't know... getting drunk and feeling entitled to use the bathroom when no one else is allowed to counts for entitled brat and drunkard for me. Not to mention that he then felt entitled to piss in the aisle apparently.

    Not to mention drinking and driving:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/nov/29/gerard-depardieu-drunk-driving
  6. 28 Dec '12 16:04
    Originally posted by sh76


    Another point for debate might be whether it is appropriate for a national head of government to call out a private citizen for ridicule for undertaking an action that is within the law.

    A third point may be whether governments would be realistic to assume that there will be little pushback against a high tax policy.

    Another point for debate might be whether it is appropriate for a national head of government to call out a private citizen for ridicule for undertaking an action that is within the law.


    Why not? He has a right to express his opinions as well. Even ones that you don't agree with.

    A third point may be whether governments would be realistic to assume that there will be little pushback against a high tax policy.

    Sure they would be realistic to assume some pushback. It's also within the prime minister's right to label that pushback what he thinks it is.
  7. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    28 Dec '12 16:10
    Originally posted by PsychoPawn
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2026990/Gerard-Depardieu-urinates-plane-hes-refused-permission-to-toilet.html

    I don't know... getting drunk and feeling entitled to use the bathroom when no one else is allowed to counts for entitled brat and drunkard for me. Not to mention that he then felt entitled to piss in the aisle apparently.
    Heh. I didn't remember that story though now that you mention it, it rings a bell. Personally, I always use the rest room right before boarding and I make sure not to drink much or any kind of liquid in the hour before a flight, but I do think that airlines are often unreasonable in not allowing passengers to move around for no really good reason. I have ignored the seat belt sign on long flights when the pilot doesn't turn off the sign or leaves it on for hours because of potential turbulence. I'm sure that most relatively frequent fliers have done the same.

    Anyway, one incident does not define a person and, in any case, has little bearing on this particular issue.
  8. 28 Dec '12 16:17 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by sh76
    Heh. I didn't remember that story though now that you mention it, it rings a bell. Personally, I always use the rest room right before boarding and I make sure not to drink much or any kind of liquid in the hour before a flight, but I do think that airlines are often unreasonable in not allowing passengers to move around for no really good reason. I have ignore ident does not define a person and, in any case, has little bearing on this particular issue.
    No, but he was quoted in 2005:

    "Discussing his drinking habits in 2005, he said: ‘When I’m stressed, I still drink five or six bottles of wine a day. "

    Who drinks five to six bottles a day and isn't a drunkard? ...even just when they are stressed.

    He also said:

    "‘When I’m relaxed, three or four, but I’m trying to cut down. You think alcohol calms you down, but you become addicted to it.’ "

    Three or four bottles of wine a day?

    You're right that this one incident doesn't define him, but it seems to fit in with his attitude about taxes too.

    I'll still see his movies and he's generally quite good. He was one of the few good points in The Man in the Iron Mask as far as I am concerned.
  9. 28 Dec '12 16:34 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by sh76
    [quote]Gerard Depardieu, one of France's most iconic and beloved film stars, is now at the center of a national uproar over French taxes and patriotism.

    Depardieu, who has been in around 200 films, says he's moving to Belgium to avoid paying a new 75 percent tax on the superwealthy. The move has divided the country and has focused attention on the Socialist - Judge Learned Hand, Gregory v. Helvering, 69 F.2d 809, 810 (2d Cir. 1934)
    Here's the thing. I don't blame societies for taxing the rich. After all, somebody's got to pay for the social safety nets provided for the less fortunate. But it's bizarre that these politicians think that there can be no adverse consequences to raising taxes.

    You think taxing the rich is a good idea? Fine. But be prepared to pay the piper in a free society. For a prime minister to take a private citizen to task for doing something he had every legal right to do is what is "pathetic."


    Agreed. Mixed feelings about Depardieu's action, but it's his right and the prime minister has no business calling it pathetic. (Besides, I might have taken the same action as Depardieu.) Not only that, some amount of tax flight should be expected, perhaps even estimated for the purpose of projecting tax revenues. Ideally, if the PM had to say anything at all, he should have been prepared to say whether the action had an unanticipated material effect on expected revenues.

    I liked this additional comment from the article:

    "The heated debate has spilled over France's borders. Not only did Belgium's finance minister welcome any other French citizens who want to join Depardieu, but President Vladimir Putin offered him Russian citizenship."
  10. 28 Dec '12 16:38
    The government should be serving its people and not asking people to pay a never-ending increasing sum in the name of "duty" to the country. If the government is making it so burdensome for some to stay that individuals overcome the friction costs of staying and actually decide to leave, I personally think it is great. It is a shame that most people do not have that luxury when rates get burdensome. I personally tip my hat to those who exercise the freedom to escape high tax rates. Government would certainly be more efficient if people had the opportunity to relocate more easily to avoid overly burdensome tax rates.
  11. 28 Dec '12 16:39
    Originally posted by PsychoPawn
    No, but he was quoted in 2005:

    "Discussing his drinking habits in 2005, he said: ‘When I’m stressed, I still drink five or six bottles of wine a day. "

    Who drinks five to six bottles a day and isn't a drunkard? ...even just when they are stressed.

    He also said:

    "‘When I’m relaxed, three or four, but I’m trying to cut down. You think alcoho ...[text shortened]... He was one of the few good points in The Man in the Iron Mask as far as I am concerned.
    All the attention to Mr. Depardieu's personal issues is an intentional distraction from the basic issue. All people seek to pay the minimum legal amount of taxes. Even those who hypocritically advocate taxing their rich brethren, for example Warren Buffet, still fight in court to minimize their own taxes.

    Once the principle is established that government has an unlimited right to confiscate one person's earning for the benefit of another, there are no moral restraints.
  12. 28 Dec '12 17:01
    Originally posted by normbenign
    All the attention to Mr. Depardieu's personal issues is an intentional distraction from the basic issue. All people seek to pay the minimum legal amount of taxes. Even those who hypocritically advocate taxing their rich brethren, for example Warren Buffet, still fight in court to minimize their own taxes.

    Once the principle is established that governme ...[text shortened]... to confiscate one person's earning for the benefit of another, there are no moral restraints.
    I answered the debate points sh76 pointed out in another post.
  13. 28 Dec '12 17:02
    Depardieu is a douche and his decision appears to have more to do with spite and his ego than anything else. Still, he is free to go where he wants to go. The French government would have been wiser to implement their tax measures incrementally.
  14. Standard member vivify
    rain
    28 Dec '12 17:11 / 1 edit
    75% in taxes? That's INSANE. I don't blame the actor in the slightest for wanting to leave. That's just downright stupid. And to face 75%, after dishing out 140 million in just four years? Pfft. I realize Europe is in dire financial trouble, but wow.

    Obama wants 39% in taxes for the "wealthy", which, while high, is only about 4% more than the rest of America. But that doesn't compare to France's 75%.
  15. 28 Dec '12 17:49 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by vivify
    75% in taxes? That's INSANE. I don't blame the actor in the slightest for wanting to leave. That's just downright stupid. And to face 75%, after dishing out 140 million in just four years? Pfft. I realize Europe is in dire financial trouble, but wow.

    Obama wants 39% in taxes for the "wealthy", which, while high, is only about 4% more than the rest of America. But that doesn't compare to France's 75%.
    The US had a top rate of over 75% during a significant part of the 20th Century. Under Eisenhower it was over 90%. 39% is historically quite a low percentage. Prior to Reagan, you have to go all the way back to Coolidge to get a top rate lower than 39%.

    Not all of Europe is in "dire financial trouble" - in fact state finances in e.g. Germany improved markedly partially because of the eurozone crisis and the lower yields on bonds that have resulted.