Saturday, December 30, 2006

French Piano Owners Beware

From this source and courtesy of the Club for Growth, we learn:

'The monster which French lawgivers intend to attack is ubiquitous. Its name is "piano," and the Minister of Finance seriously thinks of proposing a tax on those instruments not in use in a professional capacity - and they, of course, form the majority. There are in France about 500,000 pianos, and a tax of, say, 10s. would bring in the respectable sum of 250,000 [pounds]. It is very tempting to a Minister who struggles with an annual deficit.'

Good grief. This guy is expressing what I imagine every piano player in the country will feel when they get the bill.

[Thanks to for this image, for which I'll risk the accusation of bad taste.]

There's already an annual tax on TV sets in France, did you know that? Yup, you pay per set in the home. -- *Update* That's no longer true, it appears. See comment below. It's now per household. -- Of course, that's over and above the Value Added Tax at purchase.

In fact, is there anything left untaxed in France?


Anonymous John Fleming said...

The annual taxe on watching tv in France is 116 euros per household(married or not, whatever the combination) no matter how many tv sets in your home or second homes.

"Une seule redevance est due par la personne redevable de la taxe d’habitation, quel que soit le nombre de téléviseurs, le nombre de cohabitants (concubins, colocataires), le nombre de résidences principale ou secondaire équipées d’un téléviseur."

The audio-visual tax finances the public(state-owned)tv and radiostations.

"La redevance audiovisuelle finance les organismes publics de télévision et de radiodiffusion (France Télévisions, Arte-France, Radio France, RFO, RFI, Institut national de l'audiovisuel)."


So yes, we pay to be misinformed.

Happy Newyear with lots of economic changes to write about from a Fleming in the South of France.

4:36 AM  
Blogger Katy said...

Thank you, Mr. Fleming, for the update. I admit it's been a few years since I was living there.

Pity the poor young person living on a minimum wage salary in a small apartment. Even in a medium-sized village in the interior, that's half his monthly rent.

State-owned TV is an abomination against free press and free speech, of course; but it does have its advantages. Commercials are limited and don't interrupt shows every few minutes like they do here in the US. I guess they want you to get your misinformation unadulterated.

There's also another advantage. There is a lot of intellectual debate and discussion on French TV. And for example, there's little excuse for a French citizen to claim he's not familiar with political candidates on the ballot for the Presidential elections coming up in 2007 (although he may never get to see the ones the State considers dangerous.)

Hope to hear from you again, from the beautiful South of France where I have a number of friends and visit regularly. I'd also love to hear about the economic changes you mention.

Bonne annee nouvelle!

10:00 AM  
Anonymous John Fleming said...

From what I've read from you so far, I suspected you from having lived in this crypto-communist country for some time.

The minimum wage in France is now 8.31 euro an hour(is a 1000 euros net per month). However, getting a full time(35 hours a week)job for a young person in France is not that easy. 25% of under 25 year olds are unemployed.
When you can't get a full time job you better don't work at all, since the gouvernment provides you everything. Minimum income +/- 680 euros for a couple, subsidies for the children(everyone gets them, but unemployed not gouvernment-insured because not worked enough or not at all, they get compensation),subsidies for housing, electricity bills, cinematickets, etc.
This gouvernment intervention is also the reason that you will hardly find an appartement, even in a small village, for less than 400euros/month.
In Paris for exemple, the gouverment pays several thousands euros/month per family of refugees(?) to house them in hotelrooms of old hotels, which are only good for demolishing. Some families live like that for 6,7 or even more years. Some of them had the luck to find work and pay then a few hundreds/month on a total bill of 3000euros or more.

About state-owned television you're absolutely right. I find it remarkable that even the extreme positions of the far right(softies compared to American political standards)and the far left, both have their say in the political debate. Which was a welcome change for a Flemish Belgian, very in favor of total freedom of speech, and horrified about every form of political correctness.

Now I have to hurry for the once-a-year-sheeple-party!

10:53 AM  

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