The eradication of a new fuel tax isn’t the sole motivation of the French who have taken to the streets in an increasingly violent way in recent months. But it was the spark that lit the fuse of the Gilet Jaunes (yellow vest) movement.
President Macron has now offered an olive branch to the protesters in the form of budget-busting welfare giveaways and tax cuts. But you know who didn’t have to do that? President Trump.
Contrasting Trump and Macron isn’t a radical notion. It has been a narrative continuously rammed down our throats by the media in recent years: Trump bad. Macron good. Trump mean. Macron sweet. Trump Nazi. Macron Jesus. Ad infinitum.
And while there may be fiscal trouble ahead for the entire Western world, America’s economy under President Trump is in good shape to weather the impending storm. European economies? Not so much.
The working classes of Great Britain, France, Greece, Spain, etc. — already on their knees — are going to feel the punch of a recession or depression hardest. The working classes of the United States are at least getting back on their feet.
No wonder, then, that France is going through its worst civil unrest since 1968.
Four people have been killed, including an 80-year-old woman hit in the head with a tear gas canister. Some are calling for a military caretaker government.
Where things have turned violent, police have been pelted with bricks and driven out of public squares. The country has suffered millions of Euros in property damage, more than a billion dollars in lost retail business, and roads have been made impassible for four consecutive weekends.
These protesters aren’t some extremist fringe confronting the government over a regressive tax hike, as Macron’s government has tried to insinuate.
The Gilet Jaunes revolting across France are the forgotten working and middle-class people who disproportionately bear the costs of their government’s farcical crusade to save the world.
The common denominator amongst original Gilet Jaunes activists is that they drive vehicles.
The “Yellow Vest” moniker refers to the high-visibility vests that French motorists are legally required to keep in their vehicles.
But why should what’s happening in Paris, unless its the French Open, matter to Americans?
Because the Yellow Vests — whether left or right or of no political affiliation — are that nation’s very own “Les Deplorables,” just trying to stop job-killing environmentalist policies that Western liberals insist are necessary to put us on “the right side of history,” the same place we’re told Mr. Macron dwells.
The intended tax hike — not a revenue-raiser but rather a carbon emissions reduction program — is now off the table as Macron tries to buy himself some time and credibility. It looks like his approval rating is going to dip below 20 percent while Trump’s remains around 50 percent.
Protesters now have the leverage, and are demanding meetings with the government to discuss the pocketbook issues that they say have brought France to “the brink of insurrection and civil war.”
And while the French government was caught off guard by the intensity and popularity of the protests, President Trump has been warning for years that liberal, extreme, punitive environmental policies would produce just this sort of outcome.
When he pulled America out of the Paris Climate Accord to the horrified gasps of liberal audiences, Macron said the U.S. President had “committed an error for the interests of his country, his people and a mistake for the future of our planet.”
In true “America First” fashion, Trump blasted the agreement as a sell-out to China and India that would hurt ordinary Americans.
When Macron visited Washington, D.C., the American Left tripped over themselves to portray him as a champion of the international anti-Trump “resistance.”
CNN’s Fareed Zakaria gushed that Macron “came, saw, and conquered” Washington, thanking him for trying to “save the West” from Trump. Time magazine put Macron on the cover, calling him the “next leader of Europe.” There were French flags all over the city (which makes me, as a Brit, nauseated in any instance).
The people of France, however, don’t seem terribly pleased with cohabiting with Macron on “the right side of history.” His globalist policies are rightly seen as catering to France’s urban elite — who don’t drive — at the expense of everyone else.
Believers in globalism and global regulation are not the types to let reality get in the way of a nice narrative.
The Atlantic, for instance, stubbornly maintains that Macron is still right, arguing that his political plight is merely due to his lack of a “common touch.”
But Trump has both the common touch and common sense.
The Yellow Vest protests in France are vindicating his steadfast refusal to impoverish the American people just to satisfy climate change scolds like Macron, who remain comfortably insulated from the pain they seek to inflict on their own citizens.
Raheem Kassam is a fellow at the Claremont Institute and the Middle East Forum. He is the author of two bestselling books: “No Go Zones” and “Enoch Was Right.”
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.