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Sep 20, 2022

Shas opposing fish reforms

Avigdor Lieberman raised the tax on disposable utensils along with on sugary drinks. Those were taxes that were designed to encourage certain behavior - more environment awareness and using less disposables that are bad for the environment, and consuming less sugary drinks. This is similar to the taxes that were added on to cigarettes (by Yaakov Litzman among others) and to the tax on plastic bags added by Netanyahu several years ago. One can argue with the goal or the medium, or one can think it is a worthy goal. One can accuse him of having ulterior motives with it designed to target a specific sector that consumes both more (whether true or not). Either way, it was not just another tax and Avigdor Lieberman did not just raise taxes in general.

So that was a different kind of tax. I dont consider something like that "raising taxes". It was on something specific for a specific purpose - to dissuade people from buying those items.

In general Lieberman has lowered taxes. He lowered the tax on gasoline, along with lowering taxes over the past year on a variety of imported goods. The purpose of these is to fight inflation, to open the market to more competition by cheaper imports, which will improve quality and lower prices. I still think corporate and personal taxes should be lowered, along with taxes on automobiles and many other items, but what Lieberman has done, in this regard, has been a good start.

Funnily enough, this post so far sounds like it is a post supporting Avigdor Lieberman, but it is not meant to be. I have never voted for Avigdor Lieberman and do not intend to. I think he could have opposed the Haredi parties without being as nasty as he has been, and in general he is not my cup of tea, though the truth is that if he is the only one lowering taxes perhaps that should be reconsidered.

Shas, on the other hand, is a party that claims to be concerned about social matters, caring for the weak and poor of Israeli society. One example of that is their plan to distribute food vouchers to poor families. That will cost Israeli society some good money but it isnt a bad program and a society, capitalist as it might be, should have some social concerns as well for the weaker sector. Their concern for the weaker sectors never seems to translate into lowering taxes but to increasing handouts. I guess that makes sense, as if you lower taxes there wont be, or there will be less, money for the handouts. 

Shas though has also opposed many reforms that were meant to help the people. I am not referring to reforms that involved religious issues, such as those of Matan Kahane - it is understandable that they opposed those. They have opposed many reforms that were meant to help the people financially, such as in the agriculture field (pun intended), such as the quotas of egg production, such as increasing allowance of imports of vegetables, such as lowering taxes on various imports especially in the agriculture imports. They oppose these reforms under the guise of protecting the farmers, protecting the chicken coop and egg people, etc. They oppose these reforms protecting some farmers at the expense of millions of Israelis. When I put it like that I just realized some juxtaposition with the hetter mechira which was meant to protect the farmers, but Shas (and others) oppose hetter mechira to help the local farmers, and many of those who support hetter mechira to help the farmers might support the reforms which would hurt the local farmers. Interesting point to think about.

The latest is Avigdor Lieberman, Minister of Finance, just announced the cutting of taxes on imports of fish before the holidays. This should cause the price of fish to drop just at a point where so many people are buying so much fish. That sounds like a good reform, a good plan, a helpful plan.

MK Yaakov Margi (Shas) on the other hand is opposing the reform. Margi claims that canceling the taxes on the fish imports will only help the monopolies get eve richer - he says prices will not be lowered but the monopolies will keep the extra money for themselves keeping the prices high and pocketing the difference.

That is a perfect example. The monopolies on fish are held by the local growers. The purpose of cutting the taxes on the imports is to force the local fish farmers to lower their prices to stay competitive. Increasing imports does not help the monopolies, it hurts them. He seems to imply that there is only one fish importer in Israel and this will help that monopoly, but if taxes are cut and it becomes profitable to import fish, others will join that market as well.

If Shas wants to help fight inflation and the increasing cost of living, they would not just give out handouts but would also work to lower prices.

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