February 22, 2020

The Upside to a Third Election

“The decision to hold a third general election has seemingly put the entire country in a foul mood. No one wants it. We are in the “blame-game” phase and there’s a general consensus that the situation is not good. I wrote as much, on these very pages, three months ago. And now a bevy of articles are popping up about budgetary and project delays, bureaucratic deadlock and more, all because we are still saddled with a transitional government with no actual political power.

But are things really so bad? Perhaps things are better than we think – and maybe, let’s say it cautiously, they are even better than having a functioning government.

In recent years, up until the political crisis created by Avigdor Lieberman a year ago, we had a functioning government. There was a finance minister, a defense minister, a social equality minister – everything was working well. And what was actually happening? Money was being wasted, lots of money. The “Kahlon net” doled out money like there was no tomorrow – to young couples, parents, students, haredim, farmers, the disabled. The government ministries were having a ball. The education budget spiked, as did the budgets of every other ministry. The “fat man” of the government of Benjamin Netanyahu, the public sector, grew even fatter. Government employees were given raises, making their salaries far higher than the national average. But, as Margaret Thatcher said: “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.””

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