But the French riots weren’t only about taxes. They were about government fulfillment of a bevy of other over-the-top demands from the protesters: They want higher taxes on the wealthy, an increase in the minimum wage, a maximum wage, rent controls, increases in spending on infrastructure and retirement, and a full-out ban on outsourcing. This is the same basket of services promised by populist politicians across the world. And those promises are empty.
This week, riots overwhelmed authorities in Paris, with so-called yellow vest protesters attacking police officers, setting cars on fire, and spray-painting graffiti on historic sites, including the Arc de Triomphe. What prompted this spasm of rage? Reportedly, high gas prices driven by exorbitant taxes placed on both unleaded and diesel fuel—taxes in France already surpass 64 percent on unleaded and 59 percent on diesel.
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