Doug Casey on the Paris Riots
Doug Casey on the Paris Riots by Doug Casey – Casey Research
Justin’s note: Paris is in flames.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, turn on the television. You’re bound to see images of burning cars and vandalized property on every news channel.
The protestors behind this call themselves the “yellow vests.” They took to the streets to protest a recent petroleum tax. But it’s clear that they’re upset about a lot more than just that.
To find out what’s really fanning the flames in Paris, I got Doug Casey on the phone. Below, Doug tells me why the petroleum tax was merely the “spark”… and why similar protests could flare up across Western Europe and even the United States.
We hope you enjoy.
Justin: Doug, what’s going on in Paris? Is a recent petroleum tax really behind the protests? Or is something else fueling this social unrest?
Doug: The gasoline tax is just the spark. Tinder has been building up for a long time.
In France, the state takes about 45% of all revenue in taxes. It’s got about the highest taxes in the world. The average Frenchman’s tax load is twice as high as the average American’s. Worse, the taxes are used to support massive and onerous bureaucracies in both Paris and Brussels.
The gas tax especially hurts what’s left of the middle class, who have to commute to work. It could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. But it’s only the proximate cause, not the ultimate cause, of what may turn into a real social upheaval. The ultimate causes are the governments in Paris and Brussels.
France is home to many stupid pseudo-philosophies, almost all of them statist and collectivist in nature. As a result, the average Frenchman is much more of a whipped dog than the average American – which is saying something. I’d like to imagine that Americans would have gone to the barricades long ago.
I suspect that most “gilets jaunes” are just decent middle-class people who are tired of being treated as milk cows, while they see the rich getting richer. Which is why – stupidly and perversely – they appear to want a high wealth tax. But they don’t realize that the rich getting richer is only an effect, not a cause. Their government – the institution – is the problem. Not just Macron, who’s a nobody.
The rich naturally control governments. They can afford to bribe the politicians to pass the laws they want. They can hire the accountants to limit their tax liabilities.
But the big thing is that central banks are printing up new currency units by the truckload in an effort to keep the economy afloat. The rich are in position to stand close to the fire hydrant of new money. So, of course they’ve been getting richer since the 2008 crisis.