Jul.25, 2012 | 5:34 AM–Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz will present a plan to the cabinet Monday to slash the 2012 budget by about NIS 1 billion and impose a range of new taxes to reduce the deficit.
The prime minister must have a wry sense of humor. On Tuesday, he said, with no lack of pathos, that in economics “there are no free lunches,” and that if spending increases, there have to be cuts on the other end.
“Anyone who says money can be spent indiscriminately for populist purposes simply puts the state in danger and can lead to bankruptcy,” Netanyahu said.
What courage; what powerful words. We need such a leader of Churchillian stature to define reality so sharply and get to work immediately with blood, sweat and tears.
But wait a minute. Who was it who handed out free lunches? Who spent indiscriminately?
Could it be the same Netanyahu who has been prime minister for more than three years? Hard to believe. After all, he talks as if he had no part in it, as if he were a member of the opposition.
So let’s set things straight. It’s the government of Netanyahu and Steinitz that’s responsible for our bad situation. They’re the ones who, immediately after taking office, increased the budget so they could spend more and hand out more. Every year they’ve increased the budget by NIS 15 billion, but even that wasn’t enough, and they exceeded the budget.
During the first three years they hoped for a miracle. They thought they could have their free lunch and eat it too. Their method was simple: Write postdated checks to be redeemed years into the future, in the hope that those years will never come.
But unfortunately, the postdated checks came due now, of all times, in an election year…Read More>>