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Well, now the common folk in France (with their lovely yellow vests) have heard the government of Mssr. Macron loud and clear... VIOLENT MOBS CAN SUCCESSFULLY EXTORT MONEY FROM THE GOVERNMENT.

This is better even than the hassle of having to vote one's self a raise at the polling booth, and much more efficient than the long, drawn out process of budgeting and political debate. All that's necessary to loosen the purse is a few riots in the streets and burning a critical mass of energy-efficient European automobiles.

Last week, we first heard that the government responded to the mass protests by immediately suspending the carbon reduction fuel taxes intended to cure the planet of global warming. Since throwing the Earth under the bus didn't seem to be enough to placate the angry hordes of Frenchmen and Frenchwomen...

As Bloomberg reports:

President Emmanuel Macron admitted he’d lacked sensitivity to the concerns of regular people and promised a raft of new spending as he sought to draw a line under the monthlong Yellow Vests crisis roiling France.

In a statement aired Monday night on French television and radio networks, he urged companies to pay their workers a year-end bonus that won’t be taxed, ended levies on overtime, indicated the government would fund a 100-euro a month ($114) increase in the minimum wage, and abolished a controversial tax on pensions below 2000 euros a month...

Macron didn’t say how much the measures would cost in total, though the extra money for workers making minimum wage will reach 1.6 million people. That and the lack of a tax on overtime will be implemented in the beginning of the year, not necessarily on Jan. 1.

“This is going to cost a lot of money, we know that...” a lawmaker... said on BFM TV. “But today that is no longer the question.”
[Emphasis added.]

Stirring up chaos really pays, doesn't it? In France, apparently it does. The French have cleverly figured out that a little well-placed and highly photogenic violence can achieve a quicker buyoff than the usual slow, methodical voting method of electing big-spenders. It's a wonder how effective those yellow vests can be at achieving a quick and generous payout.

Bloomberg has a companion opinion piece by Lionel Laurent at the following link, explaining why the working-class in France have taken to the streets with the same pent-up lower-middle-class anger which fueled the presidential election in the US, and which stirred anti-immigrant sentiment producing the Brexit vote:

Interestingly, Mr. Laurent's essay comes to the same conclusion that the French politicians already have reached - namely, that the way to satisfy the angry voters is to buy them off by means of fiscal profligacy - i.e., more deficit spending.

Episodes such as the French extortionary riots bring to mind recurrent themes which seem to come up more often in recent decades, recalling the following quotation variously attributed to Lord A.F. Tytler, or to Alexis de Tocqueville:

A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship. [Emphasis added.],_Lord_...

In my own humble opinion, public demands for loose fiscal policy are the flip side of a coin which could be labeled as "moral hazard," logically flowing from the same sort of impulse which, just 10 years ago, inspired politicians the world over to bail out irresponsible bankers, privatizing bank and bondholder profits, while socializing losses and saddling the taxpayer with debts run up by the very rich.

It seems the worm has turned.

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