January 11, 2013
A failed plan to tax the rich at 75 percent. A glaring lack of global competitiveness. Famous actors trading in their French citizenship for Russian to avoid paying high tax rates. The news from Paris as of late has been a bit sensational, but also dire. Could France be the first northern country in the European Union to confront potential economic demise in 2013? Perhaps that assessment is not unlike Gerard Depardieu’s highly publicized Moscow defection—a bit dramatic. But according to recent economic figures, there is some cause for concern.
The French economy—Europe’s second largest—grew at just 0.1 percent in 2012, and unemployment remains at a 14-year high of nearly 11 percent. High labor and production costs have all but crushed competitiveness with European and Asian exporters in the global market, and the French continue to resist making the kinds of deep economic reforms that helped countries like Germany get back on track in the 1980s.