Saturday, December 1, 2018

French revolt against climate-change tax

France’s Tax Revolt: What Separates the Yellow Vests from America’s Tea Party - Foundation for Economic Education - Bill Wirtz:

November 28, 2018 - "France is seeing large-scale protests against massive hikes in petrol prices, sparked by tax increases.... In an effort to make its case on climate change, the government under French president Emmanuel Macron has significantly increased the TICPE, an acronym which stands for 'interior tax on the consumption of energy products." An increase of up to 12 percent is supposed to curb CO2 emissions and get the country on target to fulfill its objectives, set out in the Paris Climate Accord....

"Petrol prices in the République, ... already much higher than in its neighboring countries, skyrocketed.... in the Paris region, a liter of petrol can cost up to €1.90 ($2.15). For my American friends who may be less familiar with the metric system, that’s $8.13 per gallon.

"As a result, the gilets jaunes (yellow vests) arose out of civil society. They aren't associated with any political party, but they are surely angry, contesting sky-high taxation in France, and the political class is unwilling to listen to them. Protest marches often occur on motorways, where the yellow vests block the streets to get attention for their cause. The high-visibility security vests they wear are symbolic for a cry for help and a desperate attempt to gain attention.... Some protests have turned violent in city centers, where particularly large crowds are clashing with police forces....

"The yellow vests aren't a political movement.... However, they risk being politicized ... political parties are mastering the art of undermining legitimate movements and claiming them for themselves. Both France's far-left and far-right believe that the yellow vests could be an essential electoral boost to them before the impending European elections in this coming May.

"But even if we assume that this movement manages to resist the attempts of being swallowed by either political side, what future can it have in such a tax-friendly country? The yellow vests are no Tea Party: they lack the structure and ideological backing....

"[T]he Tea Party understood that in order to cut taxes, you need to cut spending. In France however, expectations to win just as many people over on the promise of cutting spending are grim.... People arguing to cut taxes is a wonderful thing, but it also needs to be offset with the belief that the government isn't here to solve all of your problems. We're not hearing that from the yellow vests.....

"[C]utting taxes without cutting spending is just going to shift the problem to debt and inflationary policies. If the yellow vests want to become a movement that has an actual voice in the process of reforming France, then it needs to be ideologically sound."

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