Champagne socialists

When it comes to scoring own goals, European socialists are true snipers. Tomorrow, on the 1st of May, they celebrate Labour Day; a moment to praise the ideal of equality and to demonise the rich. But greed has touched socialist leaders, especially in France and Germany. In the two core countries of euro socialism they launched a rhetoric "against the rich"; a class, by the way, to which they themselves belong.

The French President Francois Hollande is in trouble. As strategist from the school of his master, former President Francois Mitterrand, he knows that socialists can only win the presidency when the left is united and the right divided. Under President Sarkozy rightist France became divided between centre right and far right. Hollande wanted to force unity among the left by means of a campaign against "the rich". During a debate on TV he said: "I do not like rich people". As presidential candidate he launched the plan to tax incomes over 1 million Euros for 75%. The far left applauded. Hollande beat Sarkozy by a minimal difference.

After that it went downhill for Hollande. Wealthy French citizens emigrated or transferred their money abroad. The announcement of the measure led to a capital flight of 52 billion Euros, while the 75% tariff was supposed to bring in 200 million to the treasury.

After that the French Supreme Court annulled the measure, because the tariff should have been applied on households, not on individuals. What is the legal definition of a household? In case of "household Hollande" a rather complicated case. Minister of budget and anti-fraud Cahuzac became the architect of the fiscal system against the rich. But former plastic surgeon Cahuzac himself had transferred 600 thousand Euros to secret accounts in Switzerland. At first he denied all the rumours, but he was exposed and stepped down. After that, Hollande decreed in "operation transparency": members of the government have to make their finances publicly available. The result: six ministers are millionaires, just like the President himself, who owns three holiday homes. The President who "dislikes the rich"!

The German SPD is in the same boat. The mother-in-law of European social democracy views the free market economy as "locust capitalism" which only serves bankers, speculators, fiscal fugitives and other wealthy people. The SPD demanded stern legislation from Chancellor Merkel and appointed former minister Peer Steinbrück as rival for the Bundestag elections.

Steinbrück however, member of the Bundestag, turned out to be Weltmeister moonlighting with speeches. He did not receive the ever-present bottle of wine, but 15 thousand Euros! He did not just speak in front of bankers and other locust, but also the poor community of Bochum. The bankers got away cheaply; the socialist leader rejoiced Bochum with a bill of no less than 25 thousand Euros. This way, the SPD leader earned an extra 1.25 million Euros. It turned him into the scapegoat at Carnival parades and comedians. The position of the SPD in the polls plummeted.

Former socialist leaders know where the money is to be found. Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has a leading position in the Russian gas industry. British Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has an estimated capital of 50 million Euros. Leading a very brief negotiation in the merger of mining corporations Glencore and Xstrata earned him 1 million dollars.

With their rhetoric against the rich, European socialists launch the ideology of envy. It is the campaign of champagne socialists. The slogans do not stick, and not just because socialist leaders epitomise hypocrisy. 

Why? They criticise "the rich", but they harm "the workers". It is the working population that is overtaxed and who start to realise that hard work no longer pays off. The worker first and foremost works for his family and himself and not for the redistributing state with an electorate of the "poor". Socialism turns too much into "miserabilism"; instead of emancipation of the working citizen through social mobility.

What is poor? The definition of poverty is being stretched more and more so that even in a modern welfare state poverty automatically increases. European socialism turns poverty into an ideology, instead of presenting a way out. The working population realises that a dynamic society produces differences, but also a perspective to emancipation. Only in absolute poverty everyone is equal. That is the destructive effect of champagne socialists.