For months now, there has been a steady rumbling of people packing up and moving out. There are few reliable figures of the numbers of people leaving, in part because many are moving within the E.U., where there are no immigration requirements for Europeans. Yet for those of us living in France, the exodus has been notable. Around New Year, a moving truck rolled up to our building and loaded the worldly possessions of the couple and four children living below us as they headed off to Singapore where better prospects awaited the father of the family. Earlier last week, a woman flopped on to a bench next to me in the schoolyard of the school our children both attend, fatigued from apartment-hunting in London, where she is moving with her family next month — driven out by what she describes as the aggravation of running a small business with 35-hour work weeks and by tax hikes introduced by President François Hollande, who was elected last May. “I resisted the move, but it’s become impossible,” she says.
To paraphrase a famous Star Wars quote, “The more you tighten your grip, Hollande, the more people will slip through your fingers.” Statist socialists often believe the solution to a floundering country is to increase taxes. They believe that collapsing countries can be salvaged if only the state is able to collect enough money to keep things going. In the end this never works because people will eventually leave a country if conditions become worse that they’re willing to tolerate. When you have to make a decision between putting food on the table or paying taxes to keep yourself out of prison you tend to disappear in pursuit of greener pastures.
At some point Hollande will be faced with a decision. He will either have to accept the fact his policies are driving people out of France or he will have to close the borders to prevent people from fleeing. If history is any indicator he will choose the latter, which means anybody wanting to flee France needs to do it now.
Americans should take note because this phenomenon is beginning to happen here. Droves of people are fleeing New York and California, two of the most burdensome states in the Union. The federal government has been increase its rate of expropriation for some time and shows no signs of relenting. At some point in America’s future there will be a massive exodus of people, which will likely cause the individual and federal governments to enact border controls to prevent capital from leaving. Fortunately technologies like Bitcoin exist that allow individuals to conceal their wealth from Big Brother’s prying eyes.