A proposed 75% tax on French millionaires championed by the Socialists running that country threatens to drain more than the accounts of businesses, celebrities and high achievers in that country. Damage from brain drain and stunted economic growth associated with such an extreme tax policy may hit the nation's poor and middle class the hardest.
On Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and France's most famous expatriate, actor Gerard Depardieu showed up together on State-One government-run television shaking hands and exchanging man hugs during what the Kremlin described as a "private visit" to Russia.
"A brief meeting between the president and Depardieu took place," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Sunday. "On the occasion of his visit to Russia, he was handed a Russian passport."
Depardieu, whose French box office hits include "Cyrano de Bergerac" and "Green Card", is popular in Russia, where he has appeared in many advertising campaigns, including for ketchup. He also worked there in 2011 on a film about the eccentric Russian monk Grigory Rasputin. Depardieu has also starred in multiple Hollywood big-money movies, including 102 Dalmatians.
Meanwhile, former French screen goddess Brigitte Bardot, another actor who has many Hollywood blockbusters to her credit, threatens to be just a few Russian-bound flights behind Depardieu – only she claims her bout of expatriotism springs from the proposed anesthetization of two circus elephants named Baby and Nepal that are thought to be carrying tuberculosis and were ordered to be put down by a court in Lyon, southern France.
Some suspect a 600-pound gorilla with lipstick may be lurking in Bardot’s elephant tale. After all, Bardot's very public threat was delivered one day after fellow actor Depardieu became an official Russian comrade in protest of the high tax rates proposed by French President François Hollande.
In any case, the wave of wealthy business interests and celebrities departing France seems to be morphing into a sort of reverse economic Tsnaumi.
The question is, how many 600-pound gorillas stand to be swept out to sea even if a couple of elephants were to survive.