Recall the rioting, looting, and graffiti-spraying—on l’Arc de Triomphe, yet—in France over the Macron government’s decision to raise fuel taxes and utility rates. Now the government has abjectly surrendered to the rioters: it will not implement the new tax and utility rates at all (Deutsche Welle has reported that the tax is suspended for six months rather than canceled altogether).
The tax and rate hike were bad moves on principle: it’s nearly always wrong to raise taxes before cutting spending or to raise utility rates for reasons other than to cover expenses and preserve a measure of profit, but these were especially foolish: they were intended to fund the nation’s even more expensive—to the citizenry, and especially the nation’s poor and unemployed—move to a purely “green” economy. This, though, was the wrong time to correct the error, and it’s the wrong reason to do so.
This was done, not in response to the will of the people demurring, it was in immediate, meek obedience to thugs.
And far from putting an end to the troubles, it has had the opposite—and obvious to objective outside observers—response from the thugs.
France’s Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe:
No tax is worth putting the nation’s unity in danger[.] … The violence must end[.]
I plead with you.
The response for his reward:
But the announcement is unlikely to put an end to the road blockades and demonstrations, with more protests possible in Paris this weekend.
“It’s a first step, but we will not settle for a crumb,” said Benjamin Cauchy, a protest leader.
Segolene Royal, a former candidate for president, lauded Philippe’s decision but said the course correction on the climate change tax came too late.
Marine Le Pen lashed out at the decision as too little, tweeting it was “obviously not up to the expectations of the French people struggling with precarity.” … “A moratorium on taxes is being considered. But a moratorium is only a postponement.”
President Emmanuel Macron:
I will never accept violence. No cause justifies that authorities are attacked, that businesses are plundered, that passers-by or journalists are threatened or that the Arc de Triomphe is defiled.
Tough talk for someone who has just surrendered to the thugs. No, Macron’s government isn’t finished paying up.