In an effort to appease citizens angry at the state of the financial industry, the French government has proposed a 50 percent tax on bank bonuses for 2009, which the French finance minister called an "incentive to apply discipline and moderation in the payment of 2010 bonuses." The U.K. and France have very publicly encouraged other countries to take similar measures, but thus far have received little response. Based on the idea that bank earnings this year owe a great deal to government bailouts, the proceeds from the tax would go toward the extension of state guarantees on bank deposits. However, the tax is expected to be more symbolic than it is lucrative: "I doubt we will collect much money through this bonus tax," said one French lawmaker, "But it's an important political symbol of fairness."
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