We mentioned several weeks ago that several blue states – like Massachusetts, Washington, and California – want to impose new wealth taxes. People are already fleeing these states in droves, so this will only ramp up the exodus.
Now wealth taxes are making a comeback in Europe – where they were tried in the 1950s and 1960s and proved futile and counterproductive.
At the end of the Cold War, 12 European countries imposed a wealth tax on their citizens, but nine of them have since abolished it. In Sweden and France, the wealth tax led to an exodus of tens of thousands of millionaires and cost the treasury money.
But now, Spain has introduced a new wealth tax, adding an extra 3.5 percent tax on any wealth over $10 million. Ditto for Scotland and Norway, which are going to sock it to their rich residents.
As soon as the new tax was announced, Kjell Inge Rock, Norway’s biggest taxpayer, promptly moved to Switzerland. He’s one of 50 billionaires and millionaires to leave since November.
The exodus has led the Norwegian government to double down and possibly impose an “exit tax” on anyone who moves. “Shifting power in society never happens without friction and some noise,” Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre says.
Will the income redistributionists on both sides of the Atlantic ever learn? Probably not.