Le etat, c'est broke.

Last week we discussed professional rich man Warren Buffett’s desire to pay more taxes. Now comes news that not one but sixteen of the professional rich folk over in France who are about to start coughing up an extra 3% on their incomes above 500,000 euros will be doing so at their own request.

There those French copycats go again. We have a Revolution, they have a Revolution. We announce we’re drawing down our troops in Afghanistan, they announce they’re drawing down theirs. And now, after our bigshot financier suggests he ought to be paying more, their rich folks say the same. Can’t they think of an original idea?

The signatories of the French letter included airline magnate Jean-Cyril Spinetta, top ad man Maurice Levy of Publicis, and L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, the richest woman in France. (Our richest woman is Oprah, who seems unlikely to join the party, having gone on record as saying she hates paying her federal taxes.)

The difference, of course, is that the Sarkozy government is actually complying with the wishes of these crazy wealthy people, if in very modest fashion. It’s not just vapor over there – Frenchfolk earning over $721,000 annually will pay more. But only until the country gets its budget deficit back within European Union guidelines.

That’s expected to occur around 2013. If it doesn’t, the French will be copying us again, only in reverse. While we brawl over rolling back the Bush tax cuts, they’ll be fighting over rolling back the Sarkozy tax hikes.