I received an interesting email today from Andrea, who is from Italy but now lives in France.
The email is about "pigeons", a movement started by French entrepreneurs in protest of president Francois Hollande's tax policies. The "pigeon" movement has gone viral on Twitter.
Andrea writes ...
Hello MishHere is an English Translation of Objective Freedom: Entrepreneurship "Hollande Kill Me"
After the recently announced budget plan of Hollande-Ayrault governement with its huge round of tax increases, an on-line mouvement of start-up businessman has been very rapidly spreading out and going viral in France. This mouvement in just a few days has gone mainstream and become very popular: the government is even reconsidering some measures to cool down this protest.
The mouvement is called the "Pigeon".
The reason of the protest is very well explained by Pierre Chappaz (a "serial" start-up entrepreneur), and very well reported by Vincent Benard (an excellent libertarian economist and blogger) in his blog (in French) Objectif Liberté Esprit d'entreprise: "Hollande m'a tuer".
The point is: this wave of taxes will kill any economic motivation to create a company. The main sentence (quoted by Pierre Chappaz)
"I do not know a single startup founder who accept the idea that creating a company, in which it will invest all his savings and years of effort often without a salary, must then give to the State 60.5 % of gain when he sells his company if he succeeds. It should be known that 9 out of 10 startups fail, and in this case nobody will refund the founder. Then, on the 39.5% that he will be left with, it will pay 1 to 2% per year, every year for the ISF ("Wealth Tax"). And when he dies, the state will take 45% of what remains."
This is sad because France has been the cradle of some very nice companies in high-tech and Internet domains, many of them rapidly become leaders in France or even in Europe.
Pigeon Web Protest on Twitter
Bloomberg reports ‘Pigeon’ Entrepreneurs Take Hollande Tax Protest to Web
French entrepreneurs have a new mascot -- the pigeon.As stated previously in French Economy Implodes ...
Using the bird’s role in French slang as the “sucker,” owners of startups have formed a group dubbed “Les Pigeons” to show that President Francois Hollande’s new taxes make them the fall guys for France’s economic woes. They are protesting the almost doubling of the tax rate on capital gains generated from selling a business in Hollande’s budget for 2013.
The group has gathered more than 34,000 supporters in less than six days on Facebook Inc.’s social network and spurred more than 3,600 posts under the “#geonpi” tag on Twitter, with the founders of Iliad SA (ILD), Vente-Privee and Meetic SA (MEET) throwing in their voices of support.
“The government thinks France’s entrepreneurs are pigeons,” the movement’s initiators wrote on a dedicated Facebook page. “Anti-economic policies are crushing the entrepreneurial spirit and exposing France to a big risk.”
Some business figures criticized Hollande’s tax move by voicing support for the “Les Pigeons” movement on Facebook. Xavier Niel -- who created Internet-service company Iliad and started selling mobile-phone packages this year under the brand name Free -- was one of them.
France’s small and medium businesses group CGPME said it has started a petition-signing project against the 2013 budget.
Pierre Chappaz, the Frenchman who founded comparative shopping site Kelkoo and sold it to Yahoo! Inc. for 475 million euros in 2004, wrote on his blog.
“I won’t be part of the protest since I’ve already flown away,” wrote Chappaz, who lives in Switzerland. “I do wish good luck to the birds that are still fighting in Paris.”
The French economy is clearly imploding and Hollande has not even fully followed up on his economically insane promise regarding layoffs, but he has pressured companies to not do so, and he has also massively raised taxes (a splendidly stupid thing to do in recession).
You reap what you sow, and the implosion of France is now underway. Odds of France making its budget projections are in my estimation close to zero, but time will tell.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock