Paris Rioting hit mainly the chic districts, targetting the symbols of wealth and the 1%: 5-star-hotels, luxury cars, banks, jewelry stores…
After two weeks of Yellow Vest protests, government insults and deaf ears, President Emmanuel Macron is scrambling for answers but unwilling to compromise. There is a no-confidence vote is in the making, the left and right oppositions are calling for new legislative elections and an already weakened economy is teetering. This leaderless, grassroots movement by mainly angry, lower and middle income white French families, may still peter-out, and then again, as I wrote on November 22, in ‘France’s Deplorables Explained’ (Click here), it may not.
I sincerely believe there are some things the government should run with our tax money because they are a collective duty to the collectivity. Among these are health care, education, transportation, basic utilities. These are things which cannot be left to the profit-motivated private sector alone; they leave aside those less fortunate and unable to pay.
But what do you do when the public sector labor aristocracy, through its unions, uses its monopoly to gain special privileges at the expense of the tax payer? Such as early retirement (age 52 for the SNCF train company), cheap subsidized housing, free services, special health care facilities, generous vacation and so on. This is what has French public opinion so angry. This anger is allowing the government to push through sweeping reforms which will lead to the partial or full privatization of many services and that, of course, is the end game. Continue reading →