annoying, money, job

annoying, necessary, George W. Bush

April 15, annoying, France

april15th, democrats, representation

confusing, complicated

government, money, dreaded

grumpiness, papers, late hours

high, money, works

high, unfair, necessary

Income, Percentage, Deduction

indirect benefits, large, annoying, disappointing

IRA,, income,

money, cost, income

money, government, income

money, taxman, gold

necessary but annoying

necessary, unfair, bureaucracy

paperwork, social security,

Pest, take, excessive.

rich, poor, poverty gap

stressful, annoying, money

welfare, government, public works



argent, biens, augmenter

gouvernement, économie, obligation


nécessaire, collectif

nécessaire, solidarité, cher, gouvernement

nécessaires, élevés, citoyenneté, utiles

obligation, responsabilite

pénible, lourd, nécessaire, étranger, dettes

redistribution, gouvernement, retraites,

sur le revenu, fiche d'impôts

trop, lourd


The reaction to this was similar in both the Polytechnique and MIT, with the obvious relations such as money and income; as well as the negative connotations (high, annoying). However, overall the French seem to have a more positive view of taxes than the Americans which is interesting since taxation is so intense in France. Do any of the French students have anything to say about this? Do you feel your taxes are put to good uses in France? There definitely are places in which taxes are used more clearly in France than in the US (such as mass free education) but I would like to learn more about your own opinions.

Je pense que les impôts sont une marque de solidarité indispensable dans une société, alors même si c'est vrai que c'est très cher, et que parfois on se demande ce que l'état peut bien faire de tout cet argent, c'est pour moi quelque chose de nécessaire et de beau dans son idée de partage. Nous avons quand même l'école grauite pour tous et un systeme de sécurité sociale très fort, ça vaut donc le coup!

I agree with the fact that Americans definately have a more negative view of the tax system, even though taxes are somewhat lower here. We don't have universal health care, our Social Security is a big mess- so I think most people are frustrated because there isn't as many concrete results of where tax money goes. The tax system in Canada sounds much more similar to the one in France though- we used to have much higher taxes than in the US, but it also paid for a lot more social services (health care, cheaper education etc).
I was wondering though in France, do most people share the opinion that taxes are a way of spreading the wealth?

I have another question that some of you may also be able to answer. I know France has quite large taxes and it seems like there's a more positive view of the tax system in France. However what do people think in general about the tax system in other European countries? In particular I recently read something about a famous French singer (I can't remember the name right now) who said he was moving to Switzerland so he wouldn't have to pay French taxes. What do people think about this?

Paul, I am not sure about European countries in general. I can tell you though that in Greece there are two major reasons for which there is a great negative opinion for taxes. Maybe it could be relevant to other countries as well, but I am not sure. The first is that tax evasion is really high, and because of that there is a great sense of injustice when it comes to taxes. The second, and probably most important, is that there is little trust to the state (local or national government) of how they use the money they collect. Because of that there is a great negative relation to taxes not necessarily because one would think they are really high, but because people think that the money will not be put to good use.

I also noticed that Americans have a really negative view of taxes. During almost all presidential elections, one of the main topics is tax cuts. Even though taxes pay for everything the government provides for us, we still don't like the idea of paying without receiving direct benefits. The French don't seem to have this same idea about taxes. Would you agree?

I agree with Rachel in that there really are a lot of negatives associated with taxes. Most people try to get as many breaks as they can and it seems like tax cuts are often important for the federal government for upcoming elections. You never really see a candidate who says they will increase taxes.