FRANCE: Capital Tax

To the Consultative Assembly France's suave Finance Minister René Pleven offered a proposal as deceptively harmless as a Teller mine: a capital tax to be levied on all fortunes exceeding 100,000 francs. Minister Pleven called it a "tax of national solidarity . . . consecrated to financing reconstruction." The rate would be 3% to 20%. Householders would be allowed 200,000 francs exemption. Payments would be made in four years, but immediate payment would earn a 4% discount.

The Pleven proposal was, in effect, a supplementary income tax. But if it became law, which seemed likely, it would establish a...

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