Macron Backs Down On Fuel Tax After Massive Protests Rock Paris

P. Gardner Goldsmith | December 4, 2018

In yet another noteworthy blow against the authoritarian, Climate-Change-Fascist EU mindset, the “Yellow Jackets” of France have pushed back with such force against that nation’s self-avowed “Jupiter” and his astronomical fuel tax increase, that President Emmanuel Macron today has backed down.

Well, for now.

Reuters reports:

France’s prime minister on Tuesday suspended planned increases to fuel taxes for at least six months in response to weeks of sometimes violent protests, the first major U-turn by President Emmanuel Macron’s administration after 18 months in office.

The “Yellow Jacket” protesters are comprised mostly of average-income French citizens, especially Parisians, who donned the yellow “breakdown” vests all citizens carry in their cars, and took to the streets in the tens of thousands in order to protest Macron’s utopian plan to hike the fuel tax as part of his utopian scheme to “save the planet” from the statist bogeyman of “anthropogenic climate change.”

Just a week ago, Isaac Orr reported the extent of the discontent:

More than 280,000 protesters took to the streets to protest the deeply unpopular tax on its initial weekend. The tax has been a flashpoint because French motorists already pay the equivalent of nearly $7.06 per gallon of fuel, but under the new gas tax championed by the deeply unpopular French President, fuel prices would initially raise diesel prices by 30 cents per gallon, with additional increases in the future.

And the protests have seen Macron, who once said he would rule “like Jupiter,” back down.

Reuters adds:

In announcing the decision, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said anyone would have ‘to be deaf or blind’ not to see or hear the roiling anger on the streets over a policy that Macron has defended as critical to combating climate change.

Philippe also noted that the government could not keep expanding taxes, that it had to decrease services and lower the expensive burden on citizens:

If the events of recent days have shown us one thing, it’s that the French want neither an increase in taxes or new taxes. If the tax-take falls then spending must fall, because we don’t want to pass our debts on to our children. And those debts are already sizeable.

Which is a brief statement, but offers a profound lesson about the difference between “provision” of “services and goods” by the state, versus provision of those things by the private market. In a competitive market, higher prices inspire more competitors to enter the field in order to make money. Their entrance creates more competition, which drives down prices and drives up quality for consumers. Savings and conservation of resources always occur with the market trend towards higher productivity at lower cost.

The state cannot provide “goods or services” because the definition of what is a “good” or a “service” to someone is subjective, and value can only be reflected is people freely choose it.

And in Philippe’s statement, he admits that the government also cannot do more for less.

Of course, it doesn’t have to. It’s politicians claim a monopoly on the use of aggressive violence. They don’t have competition, unless one flees to… another country which claims the power to take your money any time, for any reason, just like the one you fled.

It takes a literal revolt or mass protest to change state dictates in any significant way, and, usually, they’re the kinds of changes applied to a policy or two. They don’t really change much regarding whether the government can rule over people, or offer a real alternative.

Which brings us to the immediate and long-term significance of this tax revolt. It is significant not only in the day-to-day economic and political realities for French people, but in what it tells us about how hard it is to change anything over which each individual does not have a market choice.

It should not take hundreds of thousands of people marching in the streets, face-offs against police, work-stoppages, yelling, song-singing, and sacrifice to this extent simply to pay less for something.

It should be as simple as saying, “No, thank you. I will not take what you offer.”

The problem is that the state does not “offer” anything. It is, as George Washington said, “force.” Always.

The stark significance of today’s profound event is three-fold.

First, it shows us the sheer size of Macron’s opposition, which is also opposition to the EU-Brussels bureaucratic governing model.

Second, it shows us that there is a growing voice of opposition to the spurious “Climate Change” arguments employed like carnival tricks by politicians to tell people that those same politicians have a justification for taxing their use of energy – the very energy they use to better their lives.

And, finally, in the Prime Minister’s very words, we find an admission of the difference between how government’s “offer” things to people, how markets do so, and the results.

Government has no incentive to conserve or reduce expenses for consumers to better their lives by using fewer resources.

Markets include this as their method of operation, every day, all the time.

And no one has to take to the streets to see it.

This is a temporary victory. Macron, President Jupiter himself, has backed down. But the halt on the tax is only for a few months, and the politicians have not given up their claim to increase the same tax in the future, or increase or impose other taxes.

Until people question the authority of politicians to do so at all, their victories will never be long-standing, their sacrifices giving them only temporary relief from the voracious appetites of the politicians who seem to believe they have the right to run other people’s lives.