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In the New Yorker magazine. founded today in 1925, an article on French (or Belgium or Russian?) actor Gerard Depardieu, cites: “Politicians in France speak to “citizens,” not to “taxpayers.” It is a country where the politics of income inequality has run wild. There is a new, and perhaps illegal, 75% supertax on those who earn more than one million euros per year. Depardieu was described as “pathetic” by their Prime Minister for being one of thousands who have fled the country to avoid such confiscatory taxes. New York City was attacked on 9/11 by those who thought the American way of life is soft, corrupt and indulgent. There is only so much a democratic government can do to even out the social tensions brought about by ever-increasing income inequality. There must be a leavening between the rights of citizens and that of taxpayers. Economic change must accompany political action. But the France of the onetime French Revolution is an ever-looming warning over the consequences of excessive income inequality, in those times, and in these. And not just in France.

February 2013
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