2018-12-05 23:50:56 UTC
France is currently in the grip of widespread protests and riots that have led to violent clashes with police, leaving hundreds injured and thousands of dollars’ worth of property damaged.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump evidently decided it was time for him to weigh in on the protests — by sharing a tweet from Charlie Kirk, a 25-year-old conservative political activist and ardent Trump supporter, with his millions of followers.
There’s one problem, though: Nothing in the tweet is even remotely accurate. The only facts in it are that there are protests in France over fuel taxes and that there are, indeed, streets in the city of Paris.
Let’s break it down, shall we?
There are riots in socialist France because of radical leftist fuel taxes
Media barely mentioning this
America is booming, Europe is burning
They want to cover up the middle class rebellion against cultural Marxism
“We want Trump” being chanted through the streets of Paris
9:30 PM - Dec 3, 2018
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Cutting social welfare benefits and labor protections are not “radical leftist” policies
Kirk — who is not shy about his deep contempt for socialism — writes, “There are riots in socialist France because of radical leftist fuel taxes.” Now, the protests are partly about fuel taxes — just not “radical leftist” ones.
French President Emmanuel Macron announced a new gas tax earlier this year that will increase the price of fuel by about 30 cents per gallon and will continue to rise over the next few years. (Gas already costs about $7.06 per gallon in France.)
But Macron, a former investment banker, isn’t using the tax to support or expand social welfare benefits — quite the opposite, in fact. It’s part of his broader plan to reform the French economy to make it more pro-business.
He’s been cutting spending to popular, longstanding social welfare programs and has been scaling back labor protections. For instance, he’s made it easier for companies to hire and fire employees and fought unions to end subsidies for certain sectors.
As New York magazine reports:
In May, thousands of high-school students joined unionists and civil servants to protest Macron’s plan to cut 120,000 civil service jobs in addition to a reduction in benefits for France’s railway workers, who are unionized, public-sector employees. Macron’s 2019 budget “includes an €18.8 billion reduction in payroll and other business taxes to encourage hiring and investment,” the Times reported in October. That’s a continuation of tax policies he premiered not long after taking office in 2017; a newly empowered Macron moved swiftly to cut taxes for corporations and for the wealthiest 10 percent of French households.
Last time I checked, ending labor protections, cutting taxes for wealthy corporations, and scaling back social welfare programs are not the policies typically associated with a “radical leftist” agenda, as Kirk phrased it.
The protests are also about Macron’s elitism and perceived disdain for the working class ... (cont)