France and the Czech Republic were very close during the period between the world wars and they still have a lot in common, even if some Prague politicians don’t much like it and would prefer to be connected with another country on a different continent.
This summer, within several weeks of each other, the parliaments of both states busied themselves with fiscal reforms. That last word would better read in quotation marks, however, since despite of the inflated pronouncements of our political leaders, they ended up as half-reforms. Their details may aim at different aspects of the fiscal system, but there are many similarities. French Prime Minister François Fillon’s tax provisions as well as those of his Czech counterpart, Mirek Topolánek, are supposed to revive the economy but aren’t meant to solve the main problem of the French or the Czech budgets: chronic deficits that exceed the Maastricht criteria.
Both governments may have promised that nobody will lose out as a result of these reforms, but some people will still gain more than others. In each case the governments –both considered rightist with liberal influences – gave the biggest gifts to the upper class. France’s near-cancellation of the inheritance tax was a present to the middle class as well.
It was also interesting to observe how both cabinets implemented the major promises…