While the Ministry of the Economy prides itself on having reduced the taxes of the French (households and businesses) by 45 billion from 2018 to 2021, the idea of taxing the richest to face the crisis caused by the epidemic of Covid-19 continues to permeate the public debate. Determined to put an end to the “fiscal bludgeon” which had been criticized against François Hollande, the Macron government replaced, at the start of his mandate, the very symbolic solidarity tax on wealth (ISF) by a tax on real estate wealth (IFI ), and a “flat tax” (a single rate tax) on dividends has been introduced.
In Parliament, the left-wing opposition has not ceased for months to recall the urgency of restoring the ISF or of creating an exceptional contribution drawn from the greatest fortunes. The deputies of the Socialist Party (PS) had already taken advantage of the release of the first confinement in 2020 to resume their proposals for the reestablishment of the ISF and a “flat tax”.
Exacerbation of inequalities
The successive emergency plans and the exceptional aid granted sector by sector are the occasion to repeat it again: “The richest 100 people hold more than half of humanity’s wealth. It is no longer tenable. It is necessary to tax the beneficiaries of the crisis, namely GAFAs and mass distribution ”, explains Olivier Faure, first secretary of the PS.
For the deputy for Seine-et-Marne, it is also necessary to review the salary scale and limit their gap from 1 to 20: “How do you accept differences in income of 1 to 300 after having mourned the fate of nurses and garbage collectors?” “, he insists. The PS wishes to relaunch the draft directive establishing a tax on speculative income: “This would ensure that we do not have to repay the European debt. “
According to Lucas Chancel, co-director of the Laboratory on Global Inequalities, it appears necessary to adapt French fiscal tools to the exacerbation of inequities caused by Covid-19. He recalls that the abolition of the wealth tax did not generate more investment in innovation, as was hoped, and that we have not, to date, evidence suggesting that a higher taxation of wealthy groups would scare them away or invest less.
Taxing these people is not, for him, “A radical solution” : before Covid-19, billionaires experienced an increase in their wealth of 8.9% per year. Taxing them 1% or 2% over the long term will still leave them room for progress and enrichment, says the researcher.
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