For Liberty, Rafi Farber

Don’t Improve the Israeli Government — Just Shrink It

JULY 27, 2017

Besides war, political campaigns are perhaps the worst thing man inflicts on man. War brings death. Political campaigns…they bring taxes.

Never in my wildest nightmares did I ever guess I would be running in a political campaign. Then again I never guessed I’d end up in the Golan Heights married to a girl I met in kindergarten in Miami. But here I am, playing politician of all things. I’m running for slot #10 on Moshe Feiglin’s Zehut Knesset list.

Let’s get the obligatory politicking out of the way first. Any Jewish person in the world can vote in Zehut’s primaries for slot #10. All you have to do is sign up to Zehut International by December 1st at the link, and you will be eligible to vote online on December 17th. If you believe in what I’m about to say here, then you should vote for me. If you don’t, then you should sign up anyway and vote for somebody else.

So let’s begin. Why are political campaigns such horrible things? Because essentially, they are nothing but a contest for who can convince the most people of the nicest sounding lies. The winners are invariably the worst of the worst, because they are the absolute best liars in the world. If they weren’t they wouldn’t be on top. As Nobel Laureate Austrian School Economist F.A. Hayek wrote in his book “The Road to Serfdom,” it’s always the worst that get on top.

And here I risk another campaign trope to tell you why Moshe Feiglin’s Zehut is different. It’s different because we’re telling you the truth. How can you know we’re telling you the truth? Because the truth isn’t pretty and it isn’t nice, and no real politician would waste his time trying to get votes by telling the truth.

So here’s the truth. The Israeli government stinks, as all governments do. Nothing it does improves anything. Everything it does hurts someone. Everyone in Israel hates the government for one reason or another. Every interest group in Israel hates every other interest group in Israel because of government power used against one group for the sake of the other.

So here’s where I tell you how I’m going to fix it, right? And that’s why you should vote for me, yes? No. I am not going to “fix” the Israeli government. I am not going to make it any better. I am going to shrink it. I am not going to use government in order to make Israel great again. I am going be a voice in the Knesset to allow the People of Israel to make Israel great themselves by getting government out of the way. I am going to do this by supporting any bill that shrinks the size or scope of the Israeli government and starves the beast, and by voting against any bill that feeds the beast.

In the following paragraphs I’m going to suggest abolishing entire government ministries, and I’m not even going far enough here. If this frightens you, ask yourself if you trust free Jews to provide these services on the free market in the absence of a government ministry. If you don’t, keep in mind, 80% of us never left Egypt.

Do I have any grand master plans? In a manner of speaking, sure. I have an education plan. Not to devise some magical one-size-fits-all curriculum that happens to reflect my personal values and that will make everyone happy somehow. I don’t have that kind of hubris. My plan is nothing. Literally, my plan is to get rid of the entire education ministry, sell off all of its infrastructure and assets and return all proceeds to taxpayers. Let Jews educate themselves on the free market without any government interference. Return education to the private sector and watch schools compete with one another on the free market, instead of watching Jewish kids locked up in inner city Tel Aviv cages where my wife once served as a teaching intern. Teaching basic literacy at these places is considered a major achievement and can get you a serious award. The bureaucrats at the education ministry will all clap for you. It’s a real thrill, I hear.

Zehut’s official plan is a voucher system, which I support. Why, if I want to get rid of the whole thing? Because vouchers allow a basic level of choice for parents and kids. That does weaken government power just a bit, so I support it. But I’m not going to even try to claim that the voucher system will fix everything. It won’t. Fights over the official State curriculum will still abound, religious and secular will still be at each other’s throats over whether the other deserves voucher coupons, Jews will still argue about what gets to be considered a “school”, and fake “schools” will pop up like mushrooms after the post Simchas Torah rainstorm just to collect a voucher check. These are the problems I foresee with a voucher system, but they’re not as bad as what we have now, so it’s a step forward. The Israeli education system will never be fixed until government education no longer exists.

What about my healthcare plan? Once again, nothing. Get rid of the health ministry and let hospitals and clinics and doctors compete on the free market. And let dying patients try any drug they want, approved or not, at any time. That must sound really controversial, to let dying patients try any drug at all, as if mercy for the terminally ill is a controversial Jewish value.

No repeal and replace here. Just repeal. Israelis wonder why there is always a chronic shortage of rooms and doctors at hospitals. When one central government authority controls supply of doctors and medicine and the movement of resources, there are going to be shortages. People die because of this.

Diplomatic plan? The Israeli government has no interest in ending the conflict, because fighting terror brings votes, and too much peace makes voters restless and puts power in jeopardy. The answer as those familiar with Feiglin and Zehut know, is to pay the Arabs to leave all of Israel voluntarily and with dignity. Zehut’s plan is to have the government pay each Arab family $100,000 to leave. I support that, but I do not believe government is even necessary for this.

Norway, for example, has a voluntary tax program where people can donate to the government if they believe their tax rates are too low. I want the government to simply allow private Jews to pay Arabs to leave through such a voluntary program and buy Arab property in a concerted worldwide Jewish effort. I believe we could raise much more than the $1,325 the Norwegians raised if we knew the Israeli government acquiesced and did nothing to stop it.

What about an economic plan? I’m an economist, so yes, I have one. First let’s admit that government is the only institution that tries to convince you that the more money it takes away from you, the better off you’ll be. Taxes are spent to “stimulate the economy” right? Sure. The only problem is, a mugger can make the same exact claim when he puts a knife to your throat and takes your wallet. Believe me, he spends the money, too, and it stimulates the economy just fine. Except you’re poorer in the end anyway and you feel violated.

My economic plan is to support any and all tax, spending, and regulatory cuts without exception. That is the only way to shrink government short of a bond and currency collapse when debt gets too high, as happened in Israel in the 1980’s and everyone lost their savings. See below.

The more tariffs, restrictions, and regulations we get rid of, the better. Tax and spending cuts targeted at whatever class and in whatever proportions in whatever department, if it’s a tax or spending and regulatory cut, I support it.

We’ll get to other subjects soon. We have until December after all. But first, here’s the only thing the government should actually do. The Israeli government should be doing nothing except physically protecting the People of Israel and enforcing private property rights. That means fighting to win rather than to prolong the next fight. It means returning Jewish property into Jewish hands, including Gush Katif, the Cave of the Patriarchs, and the Temple Mount.

Zehut will become the ruling party when we stick to these principles and everyone in Israel knows exactly what we stand for. We stand for liberty. For cherut. For the very reason God took us out of Egypt.

Anyone remember Pharaoh’s tax rate? It was 20%. Israel’s is 50%.

Just some food for thought.

From Rafi Farber’s blog at The Times of Israel, here.

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