Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Q: When Do Socialists Call For Tax Cuts?

A: When they're angling for votes in France, and the tax is the gasoline tax. A tankful of premium now goes for $69 in France, which has a 75% tax rate on gasoline.
On Friday, party leader Francois Holland denounced the government "for making consumers victims of a double sentence: the hike in oil prices" and a state tax on oil. The fiscal windfall is expected to rake in nearly $25 billion to the government's coffers in 2005 alone. That amounts to an 8 percent increase from the previous year.

But in an interview published in Brittany's Le Telegramme newspaper, Hollande denounced French authorities for "hypocrisy," charging the country's 75 percent gas tax had failed to cut France's soaring deficit. And he called for the return to a program authored by former Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, which would reduce gas taxes if the price of a barrel of oil increased over a certain level. The plan would restore the tax if the price subsequently dropped.

I expect this was being done with jaundiced eyes as they ogled the ballot box.