The French appear to be rediscovering Colbert

France might have discovered an interesting truth here. That it is possible for taxation as a whole to be too high for the society to willingly carry.

France must slash taxes, fast.

That, according to the French prime minister, is the main message from an unprecedented three-month “great debate” in the wake of anti-government “yellow vest” protests.

Unveiling the findings from two million online contributions and 10,000 hours of town hall debates around the country, Edouard Philippe said on Monday that “huge exasperation” over the level of taxation was a prime concern.

"The debate clearly shows us in which direction we need to go: we need to lower taxes and lower them faster," Mr Philippe said in a speech in the Grand Palace in Paris.

Well, yes, when you’ve some hundreds of thousands repeatedly shouting in the streets over the level of taxation perhaps that’s true.

Mr Philippe said the findings suggested the Macron government had made the right diagnosis but had not been fast or “clear” enough in hacking at the taxation rate, which at 46.2 per cent of GDP is the highest in the world, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

As the OECD notes. Sweden taxes 44% of GDP, Iceland 38%, Switzerland 28%. It’s difficult to argue that any one of those three is worse run than France, suffers from a lack of government worse than France. They all are paying a smaller portion of everything for that government that they don’t lack.

Perhaps that great truth has been uncovered therefore. That taxation can be too high? The location of that discovery being interesting as it’s from the same source as the observation that sometimes the geese do indeed hiss about being plucked.