In 2012, 250 French economists endorsed Francois Hollande for President, especially his proposal to impose a 75% marginal tax rate on the earnings of French residents that exceeded one million euros, an increase of 30 percentage points over the top rate of 45%. Once in office, Hollande promptly imposed the tax.
Two years later, Hollande is letting the 75% top rate expire on December 31, 2014, which takes it back 45%.
Piketty, Saez, and their colleagues must have had a "Blue Christmas."
The imposition of a 75% marginal tax rate on the super rich had no impact on reducing inequality. It collected only 420 million euros over two years, amounting to 0.005% of France's October 2014 deficit of 87 billion euros. Indeed, it is likely that lost investment reduced the incomes of low- and middle-income French households more than 420 million euros. France's appeal as a home for high-income earners was damaged along with its competitiveness for international senior managers.
It will be a very long time before another leftist French government, or a government of any stripe in Europe, puts Piketty into practice.
Professors Piketty and Saez should have been aware of the famous quote: "Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it."