Wednesday, August 30, 2017

After a few months, it appears that newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron is taking a page or two or three from the Donald Trump platform as well as Trump’s display of vanity. Like a reincarnated but taller version of Napoleon, Macron paraded into the Palace of Versailles a while back announcing extensive new changes to the French political establishment. Macron has broadcast that he plans to reduce the number of delegates in both the upper and lower houses of parliament by a third which for lack of a better phrase is just one phase of him “draining the swamp.” Macron has also channeled his Trumpian policy purview by focusing more and using tougher rhetoric. He is even pushing full steam ahead with his proposed tax cuts even given the $9.1 billion deficit in the French budget. However, the main observable overt behavioral comportment the new French president unfolds is a stuck-up and overbearing arrogance – even more than that of President Donald Trump.

He has other similarities to Trump also including his disdain for and continuous attempts to try and control the press. For example, he seldom speaks to the press and limits his public appearances to staged events in a similar manner as one of his unspoken political idols – Barack Obama. Like Trump, almost immediately after getting into office, he began to focus on fighting terrorism. First Macron created a counterterrorism task force. And has increased spending on fighting terrorism in former French colonies in Africa. But for Macron, all of this is to make him look good and concentrate supreme power and authority, regardless if his actions have substance or not, in his hands alone.

All of this has led some to take note of Mr. Macron of “authoritarian” tendencies.  In an interview, with Le Figaro he described his presidency and himself as the start of “a French renaissance [and] “European one as well,” The 39-year-old former Rothschild banker, has the support of the IMF and EU in his desire to decrease public spending. Then there are his proposed labor reforms, which has turned many of his voting block against him.   If people think that President Trump is arrogant and egotistical, then the same reasoning should fall in line for President Macron. Le Monde has reported that the president believes that his thinking did not "lend itself" to question and answer sessions such as those engendered during press conferences which resulted in him not having one on Bastille Day specifically because his"complex thoughts" may prove too much for journalists, reports say. Thus, in his mind, he Emmanuel Macron is too smart to communicate with, or to the serfs below him who put him in office. This may be why his popularity is even lower than the New USA President.

But if it were just smugness and disdain alone, he may not be perceived as so bad by the French populous.  However, there are other things – policy, that adds to his pomposity. There are his views regarding France’s labor code which he believes destroys jobs. Specifically, Macron’sdesire to harshly restrict payouts from labor boards to fired employees and reduce job protections. This singularly resulted in France’s largest labor unions too take to the streets in protest.  He has also cut social security allowances, housing subsidies, has proposed a partial lifting of the wealth tax and wishes to end local property taxes for 80 percent of those currently paying them starting in 2018. These events also led to widespread protest and this is just on the domestic side. His actions with respect to politics in France are also being severel ridiculed because from afar (not including spending $30,000 on make-up), he appears to put the desires of the EU, like reducing the budget deficit to 3% than for what is best and wanted by the citizens of France. Budget Minister Gerald Darmanin recently announced that the macron administration would cut 13 billion euros in funding for towns, departments and regions by 2022 to meet the EU goals.

There is a growing group of government officials upset by the president. Some say he blames them when policies he has approved are observed as unpopular by the populace. Others feel that he (through his interior minister Gérard Collomb) ignored the needsof migrants when they refused to open a new reception center at Calais for them. Others opposition party members have gone on the record to describe Macron as having "absolutist tendencies." National Front Leader Marine Le Pen said that" the ruling party is "choosing its opposition."

Macron has guaranteed to change by decree (without any input or resistance from the French Parliament) to permanently make the antiterrorism state of emergency standard rule and to reduce the military budget by €850m which some believe led to the resignation of Pierre de Villiers, the head of the armed forces. His decision to address the Congress of the French Parliament ahead of the prime minister'spolicy statement was also viewed as condescending.

The Republicans accuse Macron’s party of ignoring opposition when they appointed Thierry Solère of the majority, got an appointment (by secret ballot) that many say should have gone to the candidate of the largest opposition group, Republicans MP Eric Ciotti.  Macron is also rubbing other European leaders the wrong way. Just this past week he questioned the EU’s labor rules which allow firms to send temporary workers from low-wage countries to richer nations without having to pay social charges, causing Poland’s foreign minister Witold Waszczykowski to suggest that the reason why Mr. Macron was attacking other nations was because the French economy under Macron was not as strong as Poland’s economy.

Macron’s ego has lead him to put civil security above liberty. Only Macron’s Interior Ministry, with little review from the judicial branch has any say in searches and seizures and house arrests and the Macron administration can decide to close mosques if what is being said in them is not to their liking subjectively. Then there is way he talks about his populous as Italian psychiatrist Dr. Adriano Segator noted “When he talks about the poor or insults the workers of northern France, reducing them to smokers and alcoholics, when he denigrates women, lowering them to the level of the ignorant.” But this only makes sense. From an economic perspective, he is the classic neoliberal. He wishes to want to lower corporatetaxes and the cost of labor and reduce the amount of regulations that he believes prevents French business from be competitive on the international stage. And like neoliberals in the US, Macron advances fiscal policy that place the needs of public interest and government privatization over the needs and rights of the people.  If Macron isn’t the perfect example of arrogance, no one is.

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