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French business: Hollande?s charm offensive

May 2, 2013

FRANÇOIS HOLLANDE?S arrival at the Elysée Palace half an hour ahead of schedule on the evening of April 29th took the 300 entrepreneurs assembled there by surprise. What he said must have surprised them even more. After a year of bashing businesspeople, the French president clasped them to his bosom.As wealth- and job-creators, successful businessmen should be prized by society, he told the closing session of a three-month consultation on fostering enterprise. Sticking to his friendly theme, he announced a clutch of pro-business measures, such as cutting the capital-gains tax rate he had raised just six months earlier.Mr Hollande campaigned for the presidency in 2012 on a pledge to tax capital gains on the sale of shares (owned by filthy capitalists) like income (the sole revenue of the working stiff). Under a complicated regime introduced with the 2013 budget in September, the effective rate of tax on a gain from selling shares, including the social charges also due, would have risen from 34.5% to as much as 62% for some sellers. This provoked an online protest by 70,000 entrepreneurs calling themselves ?les pigeons??the suckers?and the...

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