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Is Paris Burning? Or Is It Global Warming?

 
Photo From AFP / Alain JOCARD

The City of Paris is no stranger to civil unrest. The wide boulevards in one of most beautiful cities in the world were designed to accommodate cannons that could deliver chain, and grapeshot to put down rebellion.

The Global Warming advocates have supplied some fuel and matches to start the fires of the current unrest in France, but it is not the only cause of the widespread unrest in France. Groups from the Left and Right have found some common ground in the rioting that is taking place throughout France.

According to the NY Times, the tax rate is around 40% of the working man’s income, not counting the new surcharges for gasoline and diesel. Rural areas would be hit the hardest, and have already been hit hard. The unemployment rate in those areas is at 10%, and rural hospitals have been closing forcing those residents to drive longer distances to obtain health care. Health care that they are paying for, but difficult to obtain. The cost of food will increase as solar powered, and electric tractors are non-existent.

Deputy interior minister Laurent Nunez said that emergency measures were “one option among others,” but he said it was “not on the table for now”.

Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said that solution for tackling low purchasing power for struggling families lay in reducing the tax burden in France, which is among the highest in Europe.

“We must speed up the reduction of taxes,” he said. “But for that we must speed up the decrease in public spending.”

French President Macron has no desire to yield to tax reduction, or to decrease public spending.

Macron’s task now is also complicated by his own desire not to yield to France’s street protests, which in the past have repeatedly forced his predecessors into U-turns.

Jacline Mouraud, one of the protest movement’s prime instigators, told AFP that scrapping the fuel tax was a “prerequisite for any discussion” with the government.

French President Emmanuel Macron appears determined not to roll back on the unpopular fuel tax hikes Macron, a 40-year-old centrist, was elected in May 2017 on a pro-business platform that promised measures to incite companies to invest to create jobs.

Immediately after coming to power, he pushed through tax cuts for entrepreneurs and high-earners — policies that have become a lightning rod for anger among the so-called “gilets jaunes” or “yellow vests”.

The yellow vests refer to a French law that mandates all motorists must have a yellow vest in their vehicles. The truth of the matter is that the middle class is the most vulnerable to high taxes. This is where most of the money is earned, and as Margaret Thatcher said, you eventually run out of other people’s money.

As the Democrat Party salivates and slobbers over the new socialists that will arrive in Washington DC they would do well to remember this, unless they wish to see an increase in the purchasing of yellow vests.

Published in Domestic Policy
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There are 27 comments.

  1. Member

    Let them eat cake comes to mind.

    • #1
    • December 3, 2018 at 1:19 pm
    • 3 likes
  2. Member

    Ralphie (View Comment):

    Let them eat cake comes to mind.

    Mrs. Macron: Dear, why are the peasants rioting?

    Pres. Macron: They can’t afford to buy gas for their cars now that I’ve raised gas taxes.

    Mrs. Marcon: This is silly. Let them drive Teslas.

    • #2
    • December 3, 2018 at 1:24 pm
    • 18 likes
  3. Thatcher

    Doug,

    So let’s review.

    1. There is no global warming threat.
    2. Obsession with the global warming threat has massively increased the price of transportation and fuel.
    3. Ordinary working people need their transportation to get to work!
    4. The never-ending parade of idiot clowns who think that their half-baked ideas about energy and transportation actually will solve problems is always followed by the hopeless dismal projects & product failures. Not to worry the taxpayers will pick up the tab. Oh, whoops the taxpayers are the ordinary working people.
    5. Macron is at the head of the idiot clown parade. He has had the Gaul (it’s a joke) to criticize Donald Trump. He has earned his 26% approval rating and then some.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #3
    • December 3, 2018 at 1:59 pm
    • 14 likes
  4. Member

    Doug Watt: “We must speed up the reduction of taxes,” he said. “But for that we must speed up the decrease in public spending.” 

    France is just one of the many countries my liberal friends have held up to me over the years as shining examples of places with big, beautiful benefits available to all that the US should strive to emulate.

    “We can’t afford it,” I’d say. “And neither can they.”

    “Well they’re functioning just fine so obviously they can afford it,” they’d say. 

    “Yeah, but for how long?” I’d ask.

    Guess we’ll find out.

     

    • #4
    • December 3, 2018 at 3:06 pm
    • 13 likes
  5. Member

    Another Socialist experiment is imploding. What a shock! I hope we stop carrying the financial burden of these failed states.

     

     

    • #5
    • December 3, 2018 at 4:19 pm
    • 3 likes
  6. Member

    Claire Berlinski, our former Ricochet correspondent in Paris, (wish she’d come back) did a very lengthy and bizarre story on Macron recently. It was nauseating. Not Claire’s fault – she was reporting what was going around in Paris. The guy sounds like a nut. It also sounds like he is out of touch (let history repeat) with people and more concerned with…well…read Claire’s story.

    Let’s contrast these Paris riots (I saw on Fox this morning amidst the burning and smoke, the words Down with Capitalism and an A in a circle – A for anarchist of course as we all know, spray-painted on a building – they are trashing all the historical sites just in time for Christmas), with the respect shown for former president George HW Bush, who will lie in state in the Capitol rotunda. He has a legacy, he was 94 years old when he passed.

    What will Macron’s legacy be as president of France? History will tell – as of today…..not too good. By the way, President Macron, what should your citizens replace capitalism with?

    https://www.the-american-interest.com/2018/08/21/jupiter-and-rambo/

    • #6
    • December 3, 2018 at 4:32 pm
    • 2 likes
  7. Member

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Doug,

    So let’s review.

    1. There is no global warming threat.
    2. Obsession with the global warming threat has massively increased the price of transportation and fuel.
    3. Ordinary working people need their transportation to get to work!
    4. The never-ending parade of idiot clowns who think that their half-baked ideas about energy and transportation actually will solve problems is always followed by the hopeless dismal projects & product failures. Not to worry the taxpayers will pick up the tab. Oh, whoops the taxpayers are the ordinary working people.
    5. Macron is at the head of the idiot clown parade. He has had the Gaul (it’s a joke) to criticize Donald Trump. He has earned his 26% approval rating and then some.

    Regards,

    Jim

    So right Jim. Also try running a steel mill with a windmill or a cheese factory for that matter. Solar power wouldn’t charge a golf cart let alone a tractor to till 300 acres of farm land.

    • #7
    • December 3, 2018 at 4:35 pm
    • 4 likes
  8. Member

    John Seymour (View Comment):

    Ralphie (View Comment):

    Let them eat cake comes to mind.

    Mrs. Macron: Dear, why are the peasants rioting?

    Pres. Macron: They can’t afford to buy gas for their cars now that I’ve raised gas taxes.

    Mrs. Marcon: This is silly. Let them drive Teslas.

    Towing portable Guillotine ?

    • #8
    • December 3, 2018 at 4:38 pm
    • 1 like
  9. Member
    Doug Watt Post author

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    Claire Berlinski, our former Ricochet correspondent in Paris, (wish she’d come back) did a very lengthy and bizarre story on Macron recently. It was nauseating. Not Claire’s fault – she was reporting what was going around in Paris. The guy sounds like a nut. It also sounds like he is out of touch (let history repeat) with people and more concerned with…well…read Claire’s story.

    Let’s contrast these Paris riots (I saw on Fox this morning amidst the burning and smoke, the words Down with Capitalism and an A in a circle – A for anarchist of course as we all know, spray-painted on a building – they are trashing all the historical sites just in time for Christmas), with the respect shown for former president George HW Bush, who will lie in state in the Capitol rotunda. He has a legacy, he was 94 years old when he passed.

    What will Macron’s legacy be as president of France? History will tell – as of today…..not too good. By the way, President Macron, what should your citizens replace capitalism with?

    https://www.the-american-interest.com/2018/08/21/jupiter-and-rambo/

    The French people have never practiced Capitalism. They have only known statist governance. If we were truly honest about the United States we practice Corporatism in our own country. Tesla, GE, and solar power companies in our own country receive taxpayer subsidies to produce products. Wind turbines, and solar panels are financed by surcharges in your utility bills. Free recharging stations for electric vehicles are not free, once again these are subsidized by taxpayers. 

     

    • #9
    • December 3, 2018 at 4:56 pm
    • 9 likes
  10. Member

    And here I thought the wide Parisian boulevards were constructed to accommodate German infantry battalions marching in company columns.

    • #10
    • December 3, 2018 at 5:32 pm
    • 4 likes
  11. Member

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Doug,

    So let’s review.

    1. There is no global warming threat.
    2. Obsession with the global warming threat has massively increased the price of transportation and fuel.
    3. Ordinary working people need their transportation to get to work!
    4. The never-ending parade of idiot clowns who think that their half-baked ideas about energy and transportation actually will solve problems is always followed by the hopeless dismal projects & product failures. Not to worry the taxpayers will pick up the tab. Oh, whoops the taxpayers are the ordinary working people.
    5. Macron is at the head of the idiot clown parade. He has had the Gaul (it’s a joke) to criticize Donald Trump. He has earned his 26% approval rating and then some.

    Regards,

    Jim

    Liking this especially for the pun.

    • #11
    • December 3, 2018 at 6:28 pm
    • 4 likes
  12. Inactive

    Those French Teslas would be getting their batteries charged by nuclear generated electricity. 

    • #12
    • December 3, 2018 at 7:01 pm
    • 3 likes
  13. Lincoln

    This is one of those “Nobody I know voted for Nixon” situations, which could just as easily happen in France as it could here. Nobody the Macron government knows lives way out in the country or needs fossil fuels for non-highway vehicles, so they see no reason why the price of fossil fuels can’t be taxed to the sky, in order to force people to either change over to electric vehicles or mass transit (the latter only being an option for urbanites or suburban residents living near commuter rail lines.

    You see the same thing periodically in the U.S. with the calls to hike gas taxes by 50 cents a gallon. The people calling for it travel limited distances or have mass transit access, and in terms of voting strength know that the rural areas have less power at the ballot box than their urban or suburban voters. If you live, shop and go out for entertainment all within a 2-3 square mile area, you’re not going to have any problem with taxing gasoline up to the $4-$5 a gallon level, because you’re not paying the cost directly (even as you gripe a few months later about everything else costing more because of the transportation costs you forgot about). That’s the situation France finds itself in right now, where the government still seems less inclined to understand rural residents’ point of view and wants more to figure out a way to force these ungrateful rubes back out into the countryside where they belong.

    • #13
    • December 3, 2018 at 7:51 pm
    • 5 likes
  14. Member

    Jon1979 (View Comment):

    This is one of those “Nobody I know voted for Nixon” situations, which could just as easily happen in France as it could here. Nobody the Macron government knows lives way out in the country or needs fossil fuels for non-highway vehicles, so they see no reason why the price of fossil fuels can’t be taxed to the sky, in order to force people to either change over to electric vehicles or mass transit (the latter only being an option for urbanites or suburban residents living near commuter rail lines.

    You see the same thing periodically in the U.S. with the calls to hike gas taxes by 50 cents a gallon. The people calling for it travel limited distances or have mass transit access, and in terms of voting strength know that the rural areas have less power at the ballot box than their urban or suburban voters. If you live, shop and go out for entertainment all within a 2-3 square mile area, you’re not going to have any problem with taxing gasoline up to the $4-$5 a gallon level, because you’re not paying the cost directly (even as you gripe a few months later about everything else costing more because of the transportation costs you forgot about). That’s the situation France finds itself in right now, where the government still seems less inclined to understand rural residents’ point of view and wants more to figure out a way to force these ungrateful rubes back out into the countryside where they belong.

    In the US, agricultural fuels are dyed red and exempt from taxes. 

    • #14
    • December 4, 2018 at 4:54 am
    • 2 likes
  15. Member

    Steve C. (View Comment):
    In the US, agricultural fuels are dyed red and exempt from taxes. 

    It’s not what’s used to farm.

    It’s what’s used to get to the hospital or to visit aging parents or the new grand baby.

    It’s what’s used when your daughter needs her mom or your son needs some help with the house.

    It’s what’s used for meeting family for holidays or to get to sick neighbors to see how they are faring.

    • #15
    • December 4, 2018 at 6:20 am
    • 3 likes
  16. Member

    This is one of those things where more localized governance would make a huge difference. If an urban county wants higher taxes on gas, let them do that while leaving rural counties out of it.

    • #16
    • December 4, 2018 at 6:22 am
    • 2 likes
  17. Lincoln

    Stina (View Comment):

    This is one of those things where more localized governance would make a huge difference. If an urban county wants higher taxes on gas, let them do that while leaving rural counties out of it.

    You could have a sliding gas tax based on county-by-county population density, where the more people per square mile in the county the higher the tax. But the more people per square mile, the more voters there are, and the pols pushing for the higher gas taxes don’t want the largest pain to be inflicted on the majority of voters — they want the largest pain to be inflicted on the least-powerful ones, which would be rural residents who put more miles per year on their vehicles than urban drivers (that’s also behind the calls to switch from a gas tax to a tax-by-odometer system in the future, if too many electric vehicles hit the road).

    • #17
    • December 4, 2018 at 6:33 am
    • 3 likes
  18. Member

    kelsurprise, drama queen (View Comment):

    Doug Watt: “We must speed up the reduction of taxes,” he said. “But for that we must speed up the decrease in public spending.”

    France is just one of the many countries my liberal friends have held up to me over the years as shining examples of places with big, beautiful benefits available to all that the US should strive to emulate.

    “We can’t afford it,” I’d say. “And neither can they.”

    “Well they’re functioning just fine so obviously they can afford it,” they’d say.

    “Yeah, but for how long?” I’d ask.

    Guess we’ll find out.

    To the extent they can afford it, it is because they enjoy life under the U.S. defense umbrella. Their militaries couldn’t even take out Kaddafi without U.S. assistance (not saying they should have done it, just that they couldn’t).

    • #18
    • December 4, 2018 at 11:15 am
    • 1 like
  19. Member

    Doug Watt (View Comment):
    Free recharging stations for electric vehicles are not free, once again these are subsidized by taxpayers. 

    I think it varies by jurisdiction. In some places I think they are “sponsored” by the local utility, i.e. included in the rate base and paid for by, yes, the ratepayers.

    • #19
    • December 4, 2018 at 11:21 am
    • 1 like
  20. Member

    Stina (View Comment):

    This is one of those things where more localized governance would make a huge difference. If an urban county wants higher taxes on gas, let them do that while leaving rural counties out of it.

    To the huge benefit of gas stations on the border of neighboring counties. When I drive back and forth to Florida I make a point to top off the tank in either Kentucky or Missouri, depending on which way I’m going.

    • #20
    • December 4, 2018 at 11:24 am
    • 3 likes
  21. Coolidge

    “Macron Antoinette” 

    Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.

    • #21
    • December 4, 2018 at 1:59 pm
    • 2 likes
  22. Inactive

    Here’s an interesting report from an American in Paris:

    It’s important to note that the majority of protestors are middle aged, these are not college or university students, who make up the usual French protests. This is a grassroots protest. It’s been reported anywhere from 50-80% of the French support the gilets jaunes. This is NOT just about taxes.

    The protests began over the new taxes imposed by Macron’s government on fuel. The taxes are viewed as punishing those who use cars and those who can’t afford to buy newer ones. The French already pay heavy taxes on fuel, along with high tolls on highways. Every car in France is required to have 2 high visibility vests (gilets jaunes). The protestors began wearing those vests while protesting.

    Along with this, the cost of living is incredibly high while salaries are painfully low, especially in larger cities like Paris. The myth of government-ordered 35 hour work weeks isn’t the reality for most salaried French people. Taxes eat huge chunks of their money and the French are fed up with making the same amount in their salaries as those who don’t work at all and rely on government assistance.

    Parts of France are also filled with unassimilated migrants. These migrants get government assistance as well. A large part of the French are sick of paying for migrants when French people are suffering as well. There are areas that have stopped being culturally French and cities the French avoid for holidays because of the migrant problem.

    In addition to this, retired people have been lodging their dissatisfaction with their retirement pensions (one woman in a video circulating around French Facebook confronts Macron about having to live off of 500€ a month) and Macron’s reactions have been condescending across the board. He currently has about a 26% approval rating.

    All of this started bubbling up a few weeks ago as the protests began with the gilets jaunes in November. The protests last weekend got violent. Statues at the Arc De Triomphe were broken; the Arc was defaced. In Marseille, an 80 year old woman was killed as she was closing her shutters. The police threw a tear gas canister at her window. While outside of larger cities, many police officers and firefighters are taking off their helmets and/or standing in solidarity with the gilets jaunes. There have been reports that they have also refused to shake Macron’s hand and have turned their backs to government officials while serving in official capacities.

    RTWT.

    • #22
    • December 5, 2018 at 11:25 am
    • 3 likes
  23. Member

    If the French are so dissatisfied with their government, why do they vote over and over again for socialism? Socialism is high taxes. I read that they don’t want to pay higher gas taxes to combat global warming. They needn’t worry; higher gas taxes won’t combat global warming at all. What it will do give the government more revenue. And that’s what Socialism is.

    Why do they riot, burn, and vandalize to get the attention of their government? Are they suffering under a dictator? No. Is their behavior courageous, then? No. They risk little and destroy much. Are the French oppressed? No. They live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world and enjoy some of the most generous state benefits anywhere. If they don’t like their system, why don’t they vote for new policies? 

    • #23
    • December 7, 2018 at 5:19 pm
    • 1 like
  24. Member
    Doug Watt Post author

    Justin Hertog (View Comment):

    If the French are so dissatisfied with their government, why do they vote over and over again for socialism? Socialism is high taxes. I read that they don’t want to pay higher gas taxes to combat global warming. They needn’t worry; higher gas taxes won’t combat global warming at all. What it will do give the government more revenue. And that’s what Socialism is.

    Why do they riot, burn, and vandalize to get the attention of their government? Are they suffering under a dictator? No. Is their behavior courageous, then? No. They risk little and destroy much. Are the French oppressed? No. They live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world and enjoy some of the most generous state benefits anywhere. If they don’t like their system, why don’t they vote for new policies?

    Perhaps they have reached the limits of their own generosity in supporting a generous state. I suspect that there is a divide between rural and urban France. Not all pickpockets are common criminals.

    • #24
    • December 7, 2018 at 5:24 pm
    • Like
  25. Lincoln

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    Justin Hertog (View Comment):

    If the French are so dissatisfied with their government, why do they vote over and over again for socialism? Socialism is high taxes. I read that they don’t want to pay higher gas taxes to combat global warming. They needn’t worry; higher gas taxes won’t combat global warming at all. What it will do give the government more revenue. And that’s what Socialism is.

    Why do they riot, burn, and vandalize to get the attention of their government? Are they suffering under a dictator? No. Is their behavior courageous, then? No. They risk little and destroy much. Are the French oppressed? No. They live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world and enjoy some of the most generous state benefits anywhere. If they don’t like their system, why don’t they vote for new policies?

    Perhaps they have reached the limits of their own generosity in supporting a generous state. I suspect that there is a divide between rural and urban France. Not all pickpockets are common criminals.

    The current protests seem to be a combination of people (mainly rural) who organized against the tax hike, and more leftist groups (mainly urban) who latched onto the protest for their own demands, not so much for less taxation as for greater wealth-sharing. It would be as if you started a Tea Party protest during the early years of the Obama Administration and suddenly the Occupy Wall Street people showed up and joined in, but in a more anarchistic, violent manner, demanding that they get more programs via money taken from the rich, as opposed to just cutting taxes.

    • #25
    • December 7, 2018 at 7:20 pm
    • 1 like
  26. Member

    Jon1979 (View Comment):

    The current protests seem to be a combination of people (mainly rural) who organized against the tax hike, and more leftist groups (mainly urban) who latched onto the protest for their own demands, not so much for less taxation as for greater wealth-sharing. It would be as if you started a Tea Party protest during the early years of the Obama Administration and suddenly the Occupy Wall Street people showed up and joined in, but in a more anarchistic, violent manner, demanding that they get more programs via money taken from the rich, as opposed to just cutting taxes.

    That may be. They may also be unhappy with low levels of economic growth, which was below two percent this year. They also have over 9% unemployment. Interest rates are at zero and inflation is almost 2%. So they pay more in taxes while the value of their money erodes along with their savings. The Times says that income inequality is a major reason for the riots, but according to the OECD, France is pretty equal, with a Gini coefficient of .3. Zero is total equality. Maybe if the Gini goes down to .28796 they’ll be happier and not break and burn stuff.

    • #26
    • December 7, 2018 at 7:37 pm
    • 1 like
  27. Member

    Justin Hertog (View Comment):

    Jon1979 (View Comment):

    The current protests seem to be a combination of people (mainly rural) who organized against the tax hike, and more leftist groups (mainly urban) who latched onto the protest for their own demands, not so much for less taxation as for greater wealth-sharing. It would be as if you started a Tea Party protest during the early years of the Obama Administration and suddenly the Occupy Wall Street people showed up and joined in, but in a more anarchistic, violent manner, demanding that they get more programs via money taken from the rich, as opposed to just cutting taxes.

    That may be. They may also be unhappy with low levels of economic growth, which was below two percent this year. They also have over 9% unemployment. Interest rates are at zero and inflation is almost 2%. So they pay more in taxes while the value of their money erodes along with their savings. Sounds crappy.

    Such are the seeds of a popular revolt.

    • #27
    • December 7, 2018 at 7:48 pm
    • 1 like