FRANCE: What Is a Luxury?

Although Balzac once described the population of Paris as a horrible-looking horde, thousands of Parisians like to look and smell nice at all times. They had tough going during the war. when the quality of lotions, dyes, perfumes and other cosmetics deteriorated. Now, with peace, they are faced with higher prices because of higher taxes.

The austere French Finance Ministry, classifying shaves, haircuts, shampoos and permanents as "luxuries," ordered the tax on them raised from the present 25% to 50% on Oct. 1. Last week, in protest, 10,000 coiffeurs abstained from work for 24 hours. Shop owners turned the air blue...

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