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French left slams Macron’s ‘pro-wealth’ politics

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A UBS report revealed that the number of millionaires worldwide went down in 2022, though the number of French millionaires increased to 2.8 million, drawing heavy criticism from the left of Emmanuel Macron’s ‘pro-wealth’ policies.

The Swiss banking mogul UBS’ “Global Wealth Report”, published on Tuesday (15 August), found that global wealth had decreased globally for the first time since 2008. Increased interest rates, inflation and currency depreciation against the US dollar caused total global wealth to fall by 2.6% in 2022 and wealth per adult to fall by 3.8%, the report reads.

As a result, the number of millionaires – determined by both property and asset ownership – also decreased by 3.5 million worldwide, for a 2022 total of 59.4 million.

Meanwhile, the number of French millionaires seems to have increased in the past year, by a slight 25,000, reaching a total of 2.8 million (4.8% of total world population).

In comparison, there are 22.7 million US millionaires (38.2% of world total). China has 6.2 million (10.5 of world total).

“French millionaires can thank [President Emmanuel] Macron’s tax breaks!,” far-left La France Insoumise (LFI) European Parliament co-President Manon Aubry wrote on X (formerly Twitter), contrasting the number with the 10 million French people who live below the poverty line.

“Meanwhile, there are 300,000 homeless, 10 million poor people, [and] one French person out of two is forced to skip a meal” to make ends meet, LFI MP Thomas Portes also tweeted.

Socialist party chief Olivier Faure took a swing at the 3,890 French ‘ultra-high net worth individuals’, whose wealth surpasses EUR50 billion, yet again pointing to growing poverty levels in the country, while green MP Sandrine Rousseau claimed it was a testament to the ultra-liberal “Americanisation” of France, “imposed by Emmanuel Macron”.

The French president has long been hailed as the ‘president of the rich’ after he scrapped a long-running wealth tax in 2017, arguing that it hindered innovation and economic attractiveness.

France is also home to the world’s richest man, LVMH luxury group mogul Bernard Arnault, with an estimated wealth of $221 billion (EUR202.3 billion). A recent investigation by the French daily Le Monde showcased Arnault’s immense political and diplomatic power, seen to have just as much sway as a democratically-elected president.

“The Arnault family received an extra 2.9 billion in dividends this year. […] There needs to be a better distribution of wealth, so that we can all live better,” LFI MP Alexis Corbi?re told French radio Europe 1 on Wednesday.

France was home to 400,000 millionaires in 2000. This number could go beyond 4 million by 2027, the report estimates.

[Translation from original French AFP article with additional reporting by Th?o Bourgery-Gonse]

[Edited by Nathalie Weatherald]

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