The French People Feel Screwed

Author : Admin | Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Posted in category Special Analysis
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 Macron makes no secret of his wish to be seen as a global leader for environmental reform. He forgets that back at home, among the people who elected him, fuel prices really matter.
 There are images online of police removing their helmets and firefighters turning their backs on political authority to show their support for the protestors.
 For the first time in his presidency, Macron is in trouble and Europe and America are looking on.
Even by French standards, the protests of the “Yellow Vests” during the weekend of December 1 were startling. Burning cars and vast plumes of grey smoke seemed to engulf the Arc De Triomphe as if Paris were at war. Comparisons were drawn with the Bread Wars of the 17th Century and the spirit of the Revolution of the 18th Century…
Macron is seen as being out of touch with ordinary people and is unlikely to escape his new title, “the President of the Rich.”
“People have this feeling that the Paris technocrats are doing complicated things to screw them,” said Charles Wyplosz, an economics professor at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.
It is probably not as complex as that. The French people feel screwed.
As employment and growth are slowing, Macron, for the first time in his presidency, is under serious pressure. Unemployment is at 9%; his efforts to reform Europe are stalling, and his approval rating has plummeted to just 23% according to a recent opinion poll by IFOP.
Macron’s mistake, in addition to a seeming inclination for arrogance, is not to have made national economic reform his absolute priority right from his initial grace period after his election. Lower public expenses would have made it possible to lower taxes, hence creating what economists call a virtuous circle. Instead, he waited.
Now, at a time when he is deeply unpopular and social unrest is in full sway he is looking to make further reforms in unemployment benefits, scaling them back by reducing the payments and the length of time beneficiaries can receive the money. The “President of the Rich” strikes again.
There is talk that he may also re-introduce the wealth tax to try to placate the protestors.
Macron’s presidential term lasts until May 13, 2022. Understandably, Macron will be focused on the elections to the European Parliament expected to be held May 23-26, 2019. Headlines have signalled that Marine Le Pen and the National Rally (formally National Front) are ahead in the polls at 20%, compared to Macron’s En Marche at 19%…Enjoying huge support from the public and with reforms to the social welfare system on the horizon, the “Yellow Vests” are not going away.
For the first time in his Presidency, Macron is in trouble and Europe and America are looking on.
After Macron rebuked nationalism during his speech at the armistice ceremony, Trump was quick to remind the French President of his low approval rating and unemployment rate near 10%…The historian Thomas Carlyle, chronicler of the French Revolution, said the French were unrivaled practitioners in the “art of insurrection”, and characterised the French mob as the “liveliest phenomena of our world”.
Mobs in other countries, by comparison, he argued were “dull masses” lacking audacity and inventiveness. The blazing yellow vests of the French protest movement, however, have made Macron appear increasingly dull and weak too (by gatestoneinstitute.org.).

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