What is 75 percent of €0.00?

French president Francois Hollande wants to go back to the future on taxes.

When running for the job he eventually won, Hollande famously proposed a marginal tax rate of 75 percent on income above €1 million per year.

The usual outcry ensued. Progressives argued it was only fair while those on the right — and those who would be impacted — made noise about fleeing France. Despite cries the rich are bluffing on their threat to say ‘au revoir, Paris,’ it appears that may actually happen.

More from CNBC:
- Countries With the Highest Income Tax
- Forcing the Rich to Bail Out Europe
- Voters: Tax the Rich, But Fix the Rest First

The New York Times details how tax lawyers are becoming inundated with calls from wealthy clients inquiring if they should leave France, and if so, how to do it.

Is it all a bluff to frighten Hollande into backing off? Likely not.

Proponents of higher income tax rates on the uber wealthy use history as a guide, noting that sky-high tax rates on the rich existed decades ago and there was no mass exodus.

History, usually a solid guide, is an untested pilot in this case for two reasons:

  • First, the internet has changed everything.

No longer are the rich tied to a landline phone and telefax machine. High speed fiber lines, video conferencing and document sharing enable most of us to be highly mobile. The rich perhaps even more so, with the added ability to work from anywhere, including yachts and planes. Most working rich live on the road anyway, with multiple houses and domiciles. The idea of ‘home’ has changed massively.

  • Second, there is much greater developed world competition for capital.

Forty or fifty years ago there were far fewer lower tax regimes with decent qualities of life for the rich to flee to. Most developed, business efficient countries had similarly high tax rates. There was nowhere to hide.

Not so today. Many countries dangle low top-end tax rates to reel in human capital. Singapore and Dubai are in competition to cut rates and bring in the rich. Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin infamously gave up his U.S. citizenship to move to Singapore. Procter & Gamble announced its intention to move the global headquarters of its beauty and baby-care business to Singapore, and though denying taxes were a part of the decision making process, it’s interesting the company chose that low tax regime versus the higher tax rate in Hong Kong.

Of course, if Mr. Hollande has his way it could be terrific for America, which comparatively would look like a low-tax haven. New York realtors must be salivating.

Even those who consider themselves progressive and willing to do their “fair share” bristle at that ‘soixante-quinze’ tax rate. Watch actor Will Smith’s reaction to that number in this great interview on French television.

Either way, if Hollande gets his wish the world will get to watch a great global dance play out in real-time. We won’t need theories or historical guesses. The French will, or won’t, vote with their feet and shipping containers.

Bon chance, Monsieur Hollande! They have Chanel in Singapore, too.

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  • 10. New Mexico

    <strong>Taxes paid by residents as pct. of income:</strong> 8.4 percent <strong>Total state and local taxes collected:</strong> $16.9 billion <strong>Pct. of total taxes paid by residents:</strong> 59 percent <strong>Pct. of total taxes paid by non-residents:</strong> 41 percent The state and local tax burden on New Mexico residents is the tenth lowest in the country. The state has a slightly below-average business climate, with a corporate tax rate ranging from 4.8% to 7.6%. Gasoline taxes are quite low, but excise taxes on alcohol and cigarettes are above average. The state tax on beer is one of the highest in the country. A high percentage of state and local revenues come from non-residents. This is usually the case with most states with a low tax burden on its residents. Per capita, state residents pay just $2,027, the sixth-lowest amount in the country. Read more at <a href="http://247wallst.com/2011/07/21/108558/#ixzz1T92edVAt" target="_hplink">24/7 Wall St</a>.

  • 9. Louisiana

    <strong>Taxes paid by residents as pct. of income:</strong> 8.2 percent <strong>Total state and local taxes collected:</strong> $44.2 billion <strong>Pct. of total taxes paid by residents:</strong> 54 percent <strong>Pct. of total taxes paid by non-residents:</strong> 46 percent Despite having the fifth highest average state and local sales tax rate, residents of Louisiana have a relatively low tax burden. A leading reason for this is the simple fact that, on average, residents pay one of the smallest amounts of total state and local taxes in the country. According to the Tax Foundation, property taxes in the state are $565.23 per capita, the fifth lowest amount among states. Louisiana also collects $1.78 in federal spending for every dollar spent on federal taxes -- the fourth highest ratio. This rate of federal spending helps offset the need for higher state revenue from taxes. Read more at <a href="http://247wallst.com/2011/07/21/108558/#ixzz1T92edVAt" target="_hplink">24/7 Wall St</a>.

  • 8. South Carolina

    <strong>Taxes paid by residents as pct. of income:</strong> 8.1 percent <strong>Total state and local taxes collected:</strong> $35.4 billion <strong>Pct. of total taxes paid by residents:</strong> 66 percent <strong>Pct. of total taxes paid by non-residents:</strong> 34 percent Residents of South Carolina pay the second smallest total amount in state and local taxes per person in the country, behind only Mississippi. The average person in the state pays $2,742 in taxes. Excise taxes are extremely low: the state has the fifth lowest gasoline tax in the country and the ninth lowest cigarette tax. The state also has relatively low property taxes at both the state and local level. Read more at <a href="http://247wallst.com/2011/07/21/108558/#ixzz1T92edVAt" target="_hplink">24/7 Wall St</a>.

  • 7. New Hampshire

    <strong>Taxes paid by residents as pct. of income:</strong> 8 percent <strong>Total state and local taxes collected:</strong> $9.6 billion <strong>Pct. of total taxes paid by residents:</strong> 56.4 percent <strong>Pct. of total taxes paid by non-residents:</strong> 43.6 percent New Hampshire "has no special revenue source from non-residents, but the citizens' approval of limited government spending has kept the tax burden low," according to the Tax Foundation, The state has a flat 5% income tax rate that only applies to dividend and interest income, but, effectively, no tax on wages, and as a result most residents don't have to pay it. The state is also one of only five states that has no sales tax. This causes many people from outside of the state to travel to New Hampshire to purchase goods that are heavily taxed in their own states. Not all taxes in New Hampshire are low, however. The state has the third highest property tax rate in the country. Read more at <a href="http://247wallst.com/2011/07/21/108558/#ixzz1T92edVAt" target="_hplink">24/7 Wall St</a>.

  • 6. Texas

    <strong>Taxes paid by residents as pct. of income:</strong> 7.9 percent <strong>Total state and local taxes collected:</strong> $196.5 billion <strong>Pct. of total taxes paid by residents:</strong> 63.4 percent <strong>Pct. of total taxes paid by non-residents:</strong> 36.6 percent The population of Texas is 30% larger than New York, but collects more than 60% less in tax revenue than the Empire State. The tax burden on residents is the sixth lowest in the country, at just 7.9% of average income per resident. The biggest reason for this is that the state is one of just six in the country to levy no personal income tax. Texas also has the 11th lowest sales tax, at 7.39%, and average or below average rates on gasoline, cigarettes and alcohol. Read more at <a href="http://247wallst.com/2011/07/21/108558/#ixzz1T92edVAt" target="_hplink">24/7 Wall St</a>.

  • 5. Wyoming

    <strong>Taxes paid by residents as pct. of income:</strong> 7.8 percent <strong>Total state and local taxes collected:</strong> $9.3 billion <strong>Pct. of total taxes paid by residents:</strong> 29.9 percent <strong>Pct. of total taxes paid by non-residents:</strong> 70.1 percent Besides Alaska, Wyoming has the greatest percentage of its state revenue paid for by non-residents. This is because of taxes on oil and coal that bring money in from out-of-state oil and mineral companies. These taxes account for such a large percentage of Wyoming's revenue that the state does without a corporate income tax. The state also has no individual income taxes. Wyoming has an average state and local sales tax rate of 5.38%, one of the lowest in the country. Read more at <a href="http://247wallst.com/2011/07/21/108558/#ixzz1T92edVAt" target="_hplink">24/7 Wall St</a>.

  • 4. Tennessee

    <strong>Taxes paid by residents as pct. of income:</strong> 7.6 percent <strong>Total state and local taxes collected:</strong> $48 billion <strong>Pct. of total taxes paid by residents:</strong> 63.7 percent <strong>Pct. of total taxes paid by non-residents:</strong> 36.3 percent Tennessee has the eleventh lowest per capita income in the country. Residents of the state pay just $1,851 in taxes, the second lowest amount in the U.S. The state's business climate is average, but other taxes are relatively low. The sales tax of 7% is one of the highest in the country, but food purchases are only taxed 5.5%. Dividend and interest income is taxed in the state at a rate of 6%, but there is no other personal income tax levied. Tennessee collects no state-level property tax, one of just a few to do so. Read more at <a href="http://247wallst.com/2011/07/21/108558/#ixzz1T92edVAt" target="_hplink">24/7 Wall St</a>.

  • 3. South Dakota

    <strong>Taxes paid by residents as pct. of income:</strong> 7.6 percent <strong>Total state and local taxes collected:</strong> $5.2 billion <strong>Pct. of total taxes paid by residents:</strong> 56 percent <strong>Pct. of total taxes paid by non-residents:</strong> 44 percent Since 1977, South Dakota's tax burden has dropped from 9.1% to 7.6%, causing the state to change from the 15th least burdened state to the third least burdened. The state has no corporate or individual income tax. It is easier for South Dakota to keep a low tax burden than many other states, however. According to the most recent data available from the Tax Foundation, South Dakota receives $1.53 back for every dollar collected in federal taxes, lessening the state's dependence on state and local revenue. Read more at <a href="http://247wallst.com/2011/07/21/108558/#ixzz1T92edVAt" target="_hplink">24/7 Wall St</a>.

  • 2. Nevada

    <strong>Taxes paid by residents as pct. of income:</strong> 7.5 percent <strong>Total state and local taxes collected:</strong> $20 billion <strong>Pct. of total taxes paid by residents:</strong> 52.5 percent <strong>Pct. of total taxes paid by non-residents:</strong> 47.5 percent Nevada has the second-lowest tax burden in the country, with residents paying just 7.5% of their income on state and local taxes. Nearly half of all state tax revenue comes from non-residents. According to the Tax Association's State Business Tax Climate Index, Nevada has one of the most favorable environments for business, as it is one of the four states to levy no corporate tax at all. A significant amount of the state's revenue comes from "sin taxes" on gambling, alcohol, and tobacco, most of which comes from tourists. Sales tax is above the national average, and the tax on gasoline is one of the highest in the country. Counties are also allowed to levy additional gas taxes on top of the state. Read more at <a href="http://247wallst.com/2011/07/21/108558/#ixzz1T92edVAt" target="_hplink">24/7 Wall St</a>.

  • 1. Alaska

    <strong>Taxes paid by residents as pct. of income:</strong> 6.3 percent <strong>Total state and local taxes collected:</strong> $18.8 billion <strong>Pct. of total taxes paid by residents:</strong> 20.5 percent <strong>Pct. of total taxes paid by non-residents:</strong> 79.5 percent Alaskans have the lowest tax burden of any state in the country, paying just 6.3% of their income in state and local taxes. This is over one full percentage point lower than the state with the second smallest tax burden. According to the Tax Foundation, "Before the Trans-Alaska pipeline was finished in 1977, taxpayers in Alaska bore the second-highest tax burden in the country. By 1980, with oil tax revenue pouring in, Alaska repealed its personal income tax and started sending out checks instead. The tax burden plummeted, and now Alaskans are the least taxed." The state also levies no personal income tax or sales tax. Read more at <a href="http://247wallst.com/2011/07/21/108558/#ixzz1T92edVAt" target="_hplink">24/7 Wall St</a>.