French President François Hollande imposed a new tax on breathing today.
The Contribution Respiratoire de Solidarité (CRS) will place a €2000 charge on every 100m3 of air expelled from a rich French person's lungs in an effort to close the country's gaping budget deficit.
The charge will only be applied to citizens making more than €100,000 a year. Given the average human uses about 900m3 of air per year, the total cost of the new tax is estimated at about €18000 per person annually.
As finance minister Pierre Moscovici, explains, the new measures are long overdue:
"Air is a public resource. Rich people have been stealing oxygen from the state for too long. How much money would these millionaires have if they couldn't breathe? We're owed our fair share."
Liberté, Egalité, Fiscalité
Not everone in the government is happy about the new tax. Leading figures in the ruling socialist party are livid that the new revenues will go to reducing the deficit, rather than increasing welfare benefits. Michel Sapin, the the Social Affairs minister explains:
"Skyfall, Argo, and Linclon - there are like three great movies in theaters now. How is someone on welfare supposed to see all of them if they only get €600 a month? It's a travesty. A human rights disaster, and if we're getting new money from those rich dirtbags, that's where it should go."
Other critics, however, are attacking the plan from the right, arguing that taxing breathing is a step too far - even in France. There are also concerns from privacy experts about the requirement that every high-income citizen in France wear a spirometer at all times.
At a press conference in Paris, Hollande dismissed such critiques outright:
"I've never met a problem a new tax couldn't solve."