Gerard Depardieu

Depardieu Polémique

They’re trying everything.Gerard Depardieu

Even Sarkozy, during his campaign bien sûr, discussed an ‘exit tax’ for those fortunate French who rake it in… This public debate has been going on for a while, I’ve rambled about it before, here. Sadly, and little by little the French are losing their national treasures. Belgium and England are quietly taking advantage though England has toned back the red-carpet rhetoric.

Common sense screams, “la france va droit dans le mur”, and Depardieu has said as much in his open letter to the Journal du Dimanche, here. Depardieu and Arnault are the public faces of the artistic and corporate world leaving France, I’m convinced there are dozens of others making this same change.

Arnault must be chuckling, for the French left (read the Liberation), it’s harder to say ‘Get lost you rich jerk’ to Gerard Depardieu, he’s talented, light-hearted, and has acted arguably in some great films. He’s France’s Woody Allen. He’s acted in 170 films many mirroring French cultural identity and angoisse.

The US taxes everything, and everyone no matter where they live or where they work. I’ve lived in France for 12 years and filed in the US and France since my arrival. It frustrates me because it seems unfair and heavy-handed. I work hard here, contribute here, pay taxes here, and consume here. As the French argue, solidarité, and I’m ok with that, so I continue to be an American in France, yet at what point does it become comic? 20 years, 30, 50? I can’t help imagining men in black suits from the IRS arriving in Paris when I’m 75. I’ll invite them for a coffee and do my best French impression of how seriously I take them. By the time I’m 75 the IRS will probably be called the Homeland IRS.

Something is broken.

Whether here or in the US the comedy of central bank fiscal management is having it’s effect on politics and political entitlement. I’m not sure it’s the effect desired, but we’re driving away some of the most productive and creative members of our society.

* update 1/3/13 and now Putin has offered Depardieu a passport… From the NY Times.