opinion web
Liberal Opinion Conservative Opinion
Daily Editorials
30 Nov 2015
U.S. Debt Situation Worse Than Advertised

It has been about one month since congressional Republicans caved in on the national debt limit and approved … Read More.

30 Nov 2015
Barack Obama's Assault on Open Government

The Obama administration is obsessed with secrecy — it is arguably the most secretive presidency since … Read More.

27 Nov 2015
Roots of Gratitude Found in Humility

Humility is the heart of Thanksgiving, because it takes humility to appreciate others' contributions to our lives.… Read More.

Finally, a Nation That Appreciates the Rich. Alas, it's Russia.


Those who are not fans of French cinema can still appreciate the genius of the actor G‚rard Depardieu. To avoid the threat of a 75 percent "millionaire's tax" in la belle France, he has taken Russian citizenship.

Who needs Paris when one has seen the glories of (a) Saransk in the Republic of Mordovia and (b) the flat tax?

Depardieu, 64, heretofore a revered figure in French film and a glutton for attention, received his new passport Sunday from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who rarely misses a chance to twit the West.

One of Russia's bigger problems is its middle class fleeing the country over Putin's increasingly authoritarian rule and taking its money with them. The Russian Central Bank says $80 billion left the country in 2011.

Now the middle class can be replaced by French millionaires — Brigitte Bardot, the onetime sex kitten turned animal rights activist, is threatening to follow Depardieu if the Lyons zoo euthanizes two elephants said to be suffering from tuberculosis.

Putin has sent dissidents and troublesome celebrities to gulag-like penal camps, but so far, no protest from Bardot.

Depardieu's protest over the "millionaire's tax" planned by France's socialist government first led him to Belgium, which has a thriving colony of tax-dodging French chats grosses.

Then he became enraptured with Russia's flat income tax rate of 13 percent.

Irony abounds. The flat tax, where the wealthy pay at the same rate as the people who shine their shoes, is a dream of conservatives in the United States. But it's most popular in the old Iron Curtain nations.

Russia supplements the income tax with an equally regressive 18 percent Value Added Tax, essentially a national sales tax. So much for the worker's paradise.

But there also are 41 percent levies on oil and gas profits, which pay for the social services that Russians have become accustomed to.

Depardieu, a big favorite of movie fans in Russia, has been offered a free apartment in Saransk, an industrial city of about 234,000 southeast of Moscow. He visited Monday, but the Saransk weather forecast for today is 17 degrees and freezing fog.

Maybe France will let him visit. He may run into some visa trouble.




0 Comments | Post Comment
Already have an account? Log in.
New Account  
Your Name:
Your E-mail:
Your Password:
Confirm Your Password:

Please allow a few minutes for your comment to be posted.

Enter the numbers to the right: comments policy
Newspaper Contributors
Nov. `15
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 1 2 3 4 5
About the author About the author
Printer friendly format Printer friendly format
Email to friend Email to friend
View by Month
Marc Dion
Marc DionUpdated 30 Nov 2015
Newspaper ContributorsUpdated 30 Nov 2015
Deb Saunders
Debra J. SaundersUpdated 29 Nov 2015

29 Oct 2014 A Health Threat You Can Confront

24 Jul 2012 Syrian Tragedy Heads Toward Its Inevitable Conclusion

2 Feb 2010 Global Alarmists' Credibility Melting