‘Paris’ Technocrats Face Another Drop

How quickly things change. Only a few days ago, a fuel tax in France was blamed for widespread rioting. Today, Emmanuel Macron’s government under siege threatens to break its fiscal budget. Having given up on gasoline and diesel, the French government now promises wage increases and tax cuts.

Italy has found competition in the race to violate EU fiscal guidelines. Around the rest of Europe, the question is being asked. What happened?

Economists. They fooled Europeans into believing the economy was fixed. If you keep saying the thing is booming pretty soon a lot of people previously on the outside are going to expect it to benefit them, too. And if the economy really isn’t booming, then that’s just not possible.

Pass along some tax increases anyway and uncontrolled political conflagration is pretty much standard especially in Paris.

Some officials get it, in part.

“The problem is not so much income inequality,” he [Philippe Martin, head of the independent Council of Economic Analysis] said. “The big problem is that there is no growth.”

However, this year almost everyone has seen their tax bill rise because Mr Macron, intent on meeting the EU’s 3 per cent deficit target, has chosen to delay the cuts and front-load the rise in the contribution sociale généralisée. [emphasis added]

France, like Italy or Brazil, is a laggard they say. It’s their problem, not anyone else. The rest of Europe can be booming without every piece of it taking part. Then again, unrest wasn’t strictly a French outburst over this past weekend.

Belgian police fired tear gas and water cannons at yellow-vested protesters calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Charles Michel after they tried to breach a riot barricade, as the movement that started in France made its mark Saturday in Belgium and the Netherlands…

The reasons for the protests are not entirely clear. Neither Belgium nor the Netherlands has proposed a hike in fuel tax — the catalyst for the massive and destructive demonstrations in France in recent weeks.

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Gary Anderson 10 months ago Contributor's comment

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