Good lord, am I going to have to stop making fun of France?
French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Tuesday called for a cut in European oil taxes to help consumers as fishermen and truck drivers across the continent staged protests against soaring prices.
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"I want to ask the question to our European partners: if oil continues to increase, should we not suspend the VAT taxation on the price of oil?" Sarkozy said in a radio interview.
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Meanwhile, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said the country must boost its nuclear power to address the problem, adding that "we are dealing with a long-term increase of the price of oil."
Cutting a tax AND boosting nuclear power? What a difference electing somebody sensible can make. The VAT -- or value-added tax -- is, by the way, a French invention, at least as good a reason to suspect the French as their reverence for Jerry Lewis. Unlike the sales tax, which merely collects the government's poundgram of flesh at the final point of sale, the VAT is assessed at every point along the way from raw material to finished product. It's never gotten beyond the talking stage here but -- mon dieu! -- don't let your attention stray.