I sympathize with the French yellow-vest demonstrators. Not the rioters, but the demonstrators. From what I've been able to determine, they are primarily the working-class French. They are the producers. The middle class and lower middle class. The ones who pay most of the taxes, which go to support the non-producers, as well as an increasing number of foolish government globalism schemes (like taxing fuel to fight climate change).
The poor pay no taxes and the rich pay proportionately fewer taxes. The middle class is the tax-producing herd that government systematically milks. All such herds will only take so much before they jump the fence and stampede.
Thomas Jefferson knew this. He referenced it 242 years ago in his brilliantly worded Declaration of Independence...
"...all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."
According to This 2016 Article France has the highest taxed population in Europe. "Tax Liberation Day" for them is July 29. That means the average worker in France must work 210 days a year just to pay his taxes. That's a considerable demand on a person's time and life force, just to pay the perpetual demands of an overgrown government.
Does the government in France serve the people, or do the people serve the government?
Here in America, "Tax Freedom Day" is April 19. The average tax-paying American must work 109 days a year to pay his taxes.
Personally, I'm sure I work longer than 109 days to pay my taxes. As a self-employed person I'm responsible for paying twice as much social security taxes than the taxpayer who is an employee.
Most of my income comes from selling products that I make with my hands. I invest time and a lot of monotonous hours into producing things. If I don't produce, I don't make money. And when I write out a check for my federal and state taxes every quarter, it not only makes me angry, it discourages me greatly.
Approximately half the people in America do not pay any income taxes at all. Near as I can tell, it is about the same in France. The poor don't pay, and the wealthy pay proportionately less. I have a friend who owns a larger and much more profitable business than me and he tells me he pays very little in income taxes. There is something seriously wrong with a country in which half the population is expected to pay all the bills.
As an American producer who pays dearly and disproportionately with my time and energy to support the growing socialist welfare state of America, I'm ready to protest in the streets. I mean that sincerely.
The French middle class has been much more patient and "disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable" than I am.
I wish them well.
By the way, those yellow vests are a story in themselves. Every motorist in France is required by law to have two such vests in their vehicle at all times. Taxes are only one burden inflicted by an overbearing bureaucratic technocracy.