Wednesday, January 17, 2007

More tax woes for Royal

Socialist candidate Segolene Royal's tax woes took on a new dimension today, when she used an interview on French radio to deny rumors that she evaded the wealth tax through a family property company.

"I cannot allow myself to be branded a tax evader. I find it scandalous. (...) I started my life with nothing, so this is the fruit of my work. I am well-off and I think it is normal to pay the wealth tax."

According to the article, politicians discussing personal wealth is often taboo in France, but Royal has released an estimate of her personal assets at €355,000, which includes two houses and a share of an apartment. The property company that has been at the center of this tax rumor is worth €914,694.

Royal also challenged Sarkozy to relese his own tax records, something he said he will do soon. What I find odd about this is actually the fact that speaking of money is so taboo, especially on the left. The article states that,

"Money is a particularly sensitive subject for left-wing politicians in France, who are often branded “gauche caviar”, or champagne socialists, if they are seen as better off than most French people."

Quite the opposite, the US senate is often nicknamed the millionaires club for the wealth of its members, and US presidential candidates are usually quick to release records in order to quell any speculation. As a sidenote, a new website entitled Bill Gates for President is currently trying to drum up support for the world's richest man to run in the upcoming '08 US election. One of their main reasons in support of a Gates candidacy is that he could easily finance his own campaign, leaving him free of debts to special interest groups. Hopefully money isn't taboo conversation in his house.

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