The New York Times recently ran a fascinating op/ed piece on “France’s nutty socialism” pointing out that the growth of the French state is now prompting punitive measures on the poor and the working class.
[T]the Socialists plan to quadruple the tax on palm oil. This will affect a range of comfort foods — most crucially Nutella, the hazelnut and chocolate spread from Italy that is a staple of French working class households. France is the world’s largest consumer of the paste, annually devouring 75,000 tons. Ergo, “Nutella tax.” … [T]he increase also appears, as one Communist deputy exclaimed, to be little more than “a tax on the workers.”
There are obvious lessons here for the U.S. The notion that an ever larger state can be solely financed by taxing “millionaires and billionaires” is a fiction, one the French Socialists are helpfully revealing.
But it’s even worse than that. The piece doesn’t mention it but the “Nutella tax” is also an example of a pernicious form of crony capitalism. The beneficiaries of the tax will be European vegetable oil producers who don’t want to compete with lower cost producers from Africa and Asia.