By Ted Belman
So what do the protest leaders want?
Haaretz summarizes their latest demands in an editorial on the subject. It considers their demands as “increasingly moderate”. What surprised me most was that they didn’t put forward a plan to increase the supply of housing.
Aside from restating their previous demand that Manuel Trachtenberg resign as head of a panel designed to deal with Israel’s social issues, the protest leaders will attempt to “eliminate economic centralization”, propose a discussion to end monopolies, dismantle economic pyramids, increase competition, tax reform that would cancel the lowering of corporate taxes while raising taxes on high-income individuals, lowering indirect taxes, and monitoring of the capital market.
I can’t understand why they want Trachtenberg to resign but I totally agree with the balance of this paragraph. The one caveat I have is that raising taxes should not be so aggressive as to result in emigration from Israel.
Yes Economic concentration getting worse and is bad for the country’s businesses, and it’s a structural risk to the economy.
Moreover, the protest leaders are seeking to promote the idea of a welfare state that seeks to reduce social gaps and eradicate poverty.
This is a minefield. Poverty can never be eradicated as America found in its “war on poverty”.
They further demand the halting of the privatization of public services such as education, health, housing and employment, insisting on ensuring that said services will not be privatized in the future, while emphasizing the Israeli government’s direct responsibility for them.
In general, I favour privitization rather than state control. There is no question that they have a socialist agenda. Can’t understand why they are against privatizing of education, housing and employment. The government has botched housing. This demand is antithetical to the first demand above.
According to estimates, implementing the demands could cost well over tens of billions of shekels a year. The statement suggests the government use revenues from its newly acquired natural gas reserves in order to aid in the funding of the demanded changes.
I see no problem with this as far as new policies are accepted
Furthermore, the organizers seek to replace the tent protests with a network of “community-based protest movements” across Israel, where activists will be able to organize discussions on the social-economic situation in Israel, as well as put pressure on members of Knesset from the major parties.
Go for it. It is like a Tea Party Movement. But you don’t need the government for this.
I have been corresponding with a leftist involved in the protest. She writes in rebuttal to my arguments,
Please recall that when Clinton left office there was a large fiscal surplus in the US and when Bush II left office there was a large debt. The US debt grew under both Bushes and Reagan, so it’s hard to argue that the right is more fiscally conservative than the left. They just spend on different things. See Wikileaks.
And, of course the capitalist US spends a lot more government monies on its government health system than the socialist Europe, so really you’re being very arbitrary.
It is true that Israel pays for its defence budget through (by reducing) its social safety net – we spend half of the OECD average expenditure on social welfare and transfer payments.
The option to this is actually raising taxes for the rich. In Israel the rich pay LESS taxes here than in most OECD countries and also there is a much higher level of indirect taxes (sales tax and the like, which tax poor and rich equally) vs direct taxes (which are related to the income levels of those being taxed). In Israel, poor people today are far poorer than they were 20 years ago despite the booming economy here, and rich people are far richer. If the rich pay more we can have a more equal society.
I know that you will argue that if the rich pay more they will create less jobs, but there is little evidence to support the idea that trickle-down economics actually work.
No, I won’t argue that. Israel has the lowest unemployment in the world. I can’t understand why this hasn’t caused wages to rise and thus inflation. So there is no concern that raising taxes will raise unemployment.
The primary concern is to lower the cost of living rather than subsidize those who can’t manage. So I am not relying on “trickle down”. Double the rate of housing construction to lower cost of housing. This will also provide employment for Arabs in J&S. This is good because we need a labour pool to do the building. This will lower cost of living dramatically.