The biggest welfare state in the world is France

I need to follow up my recent article about tax, GDP, a free lunch and big governments. The Biden administration is calling for a tax hike and a much bigger government. Is the United States on the way to be a socialist country like France? If so, how would that be?

Let`s take a look at France. The biggest welfare state in the world. No other coutries in the world spend more money on welfare than the French government. No other coutries has higher taxes either.

But who is protesting a lot? No other countries in the world are protesting more than the people of France, and the yellow vest protesters showed us that. There were multiple reasons for all the protests in France. What they all had in common is that they were all dissatisfied.

Does the people of the United States really want to be a socialist state like France?

Photo by Alex Azabache on

First of all; lets talk about tax. No other countries in the world have higher taxes than France. Personal income tax has dropped to 45%, down from 59,6% about twenty years ago. In other words; half of your hard earned money goes to the government.

Corporate tax rate in France dropped to 28% under president Macron. Do doubt that Macron is doing something right. A Trump strategy that is boosting the economy with lower taxes (but that was before the covid attack).

In the early 80`s, the corporate tax rate in France was at a record high with 50%. All that happened under President Fracois Mitterand who served as a President of France from 1981 to 1995, the longest time in office in the history of France.

Mitterand started political life on the Catholic nationalist right, but joined the resistance and moved to the left. He opposed Charles de Gaulle`s establishment of the Fifth Republic.

He invited the Communist Party into his first government, which was a controversial decision at the time. In the event, the Communists were boxed in as junior partners and, rather than taking advantage, saw their support erode. The left the cabinet in 1984.

Interestingly, right after that, the taxes started to decline. Mitterand followed a radical left-wing economic agenda, including nationalisation of key firms, but after two years, with the economy in crisis, he reversed course.

He pushed a socially liberal agenda with reforms such as the 39-hour week, and the end of a government monopoly in radio and television broadcasting.

His partnership with German Chancellor Hermut Kohl advanced European integration via the Maastricht Treaty, but he reluctantly accepted German reunification. By the way; he was also the only French President to ever have named a female Prime Minister; Edith Cresson.

Beyond making the French left electable, Mitterand presided over the rise of the Socialist Party to dominance of the left, and the decline of the once-mighty Communist Party (as a share of the popular vote in the first presidential round, the Communists shrank from a peak of 21,27% in 1969 to 8,66% in 1995, at the end of Mitterand`s second term).

As you can see, the popularity of the Communist Party declined from about 21% to 8%, but so did the corporate tax rate under Mitterand too.

But taxes need to come from someone, and that is the people. How is that going to work out if millions are unemployed? In France, the unemployment rate has always been high. It dropped to 8% in December of 2020, down from 9,1% in the previous period.

The number of unemployed people decreased by 340 thousand to 2,4 million. That sounds expensive. Someone has to pay for it.

France spend nearly one third of their GDP on social welfare, according to OECD. France are on top of the list (27,5) while the U.S is number 22 with 14,3% (as a percentage of GDP).

If we look at total net social spending, France is still at the top with 31,7%, but interestingly, the U:S is second with 30%. Total net social spending takes into account public and private social expenditure, and also includes the effect of direct taxes (income tax and social security contributions), indirect taxation of consumption on cash benefits, as well as tax breaks for social purposes.

Top 20 list of all the countries with tax revenue as a percent of GDP from 40% to 50% are all from Europe. except one; Cuba, at number 8 on the list. A communist country among all the European countries.

The debt in France is skyrocketing. Under Mitterand, the debt to GDP was about 20. Now, under Macron it has increased to 115,70 percent in 2020 from 97,60 percent in 2019.

At the same time, Government Budget in France decreased to -9,20 percent of GDP in 2020 from -3,10 percent in 2019. In other words; the government spends more money than it takes in from taxes and other fees.

So, socialist welfare state France has more debt than the United States. Devt to GDP in the U.S increased to 107,60 percent in 2020, up from 106,90 percent in 2019.

The unemployment rate is also lower in the U.S. The unemployment rate fell to 6 percent in March of 2021. The U.S government is also spending more money than they have. In 2019, the U.S recorded a government budget deficit equal to 4,60 percent of the GDP, but it`s expected to be about 13 percent in 2020.

On top of all the taxes, people in France also need to pay for the roads. A typical socialist country has toll roads. From Boreaux to Paris, you need to pay 55,60 euros for Classe A and 85,60 euros for Classe B.

All the money you earn from Janury to June goes to the government. The govenment will give the money you give them to sick people who ask for free healthcare. State healthcare insurance is available to everyone staying in France for more than three months.

The French Social Security system runs this insurance (called PUMA), and this insurance covers about 70% of the medical costs, and in some cases, even 100% of the costs. The state also pays for every child`s education from 6 to 16 years old.

So, if you pay nearly half of your hard earned money to your welfare state, and drive a car from Boreaux to Paris often, you have to ask yourself what your real tax actually is?

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