July 19, 2019

Whose Side Are the Yellow Vests On, Anyways?

“To conservative opponents of the gentry leftism that often seems blind to the impact that their market-distorting policies and regressive tax schemes have on average people, there is a lot to like about France’s “gilets jaunes” (Yellow Vests). Their movement was spontaneous and organic. It was composed early on of rural, middle-class professionals who simply could not afford French President Emmanuel Macron’s “green tax” on fuel. The wave of protests ignited by Macron’s “de-carbonization” plan exposed precisely how shallow public support for green initiatives is when the costs are no longer hypothetical. American conservatives might be tempted to sing this movement’s praises, but that would be ill-considered.

The Yellow Vests are many things, but they are not anti-tax. They’re certainly not for the kind of smaller government championed by Macron’s government. Following the announcement that the Yellow Vests had forced the French president to suspend the implementation of his gas tax for six months, Yellow Vest spokesmen Benjamin Cauchy sounded a note of defiance. “Our demands are much bigger than this moratorium,” he said. “We want a better distribution of wealth, salary increases.” Indeed, one of the Yellow Vests’ central grievances is one of Macron’s first acts as president: a substantial reduction of the tax burden on France’s high earners. Among the “people’s directives” the Yellow Vests endorsed are an increase in the minimum wage, a “maximum wage” that caps income at €15,000 per month, the repeal of tax credits for employers, rent controls, dramatic increases in public spending on schools, post offices, and railroads, a ban on outsourcing, and a lower retirement age.”

Read more

JJ Editor's Daily Picks

"The likely successor to British Prime Minister Theresa May, Boris Johnson, has plans to subsume the government department overseeing development aid into the foreign office, effectively eliminating it. That will destroy a post-Brexit United..."

"Gerard Baker, editor-at-large at the Wall Street Journal (no reflexively anti-Trump publication) recently wrote a piece decrying Donald Trump and his foreign policy as a fount of erratic unpredictability. This essay will give the counter view...."

"On Wednesday, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar announced that she will be visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories in the coming weeks. Omar will be accompanied by Rep. Rashida Tlaib. The two freshman congresswomen have become a focal point of..."

"Netflix may have lost US subscribers for the first time since it began making its own shows, but that didn't stop the streaming giant from dropping new figures about how many people are sucked into its Adam Sandler vortex. (Spoiler: More than..."

"A few years ago, Amy Balliett, CEO of a Seattle-based design and marketing firm, noticed that as the work week slogged on, her employees’ energy and productivity wilted. “That would slump to such an extent that the same task on Monday would..."

"Over the last few days the #faceappchallenge has taken over social media. This “challenge” involves downloading a selfie-editing tool called FaceApp and using one of its filters to digitally age your face. You then post the photo of your wizened..."

"Although there are plenty of irrational aspects to life in modern America, few rival the odd fixation on lawns. Fertilizing, mowing, watering — these are all-American activities that, on their face, seem reasonable enough. But to spend hundreds..."

"Can a book change the way we think? I don’t mean that in the sense of a reader’s opinion or ideology shifting—of course the right literary work can do that. But can a book rewire the brain itself, literally changing the way one particular mind..."

"It’s our job to let kids know we see and hear them, but we’re not necessarily going to solve siblings’ conflicts for them (or else they never get the practice). When squabbles start, imagine you’re a sportscaster and describe what you see in..."

"Magali Trejo-Martinez, a 22-year-old living in Salem, Oregon, recently went on a date that was rather uninspiring. “I had dinner, had a couple margaritas, and then went home,” is how she recapped the evening. This outcome wasn’t entirely..."

"The first lunar landing was many things — a D-Day-like feat of planning and logistics, a testament to the power of man's will, an ostensible propaganda coup for NATO. It was also, I think, one of the most misunderstood events in the history of..."

"THE FIRST TIME Bernie Sanders ran for president, he didn’t talk much about being Jewish. In fact, he didn’t talk much about himself at all. His 2016 primary campaign, like his whole political career, was relentlessly focused on one topic: income..."