Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Israeli Poor Never Had it Better, Says Finance Ministry

ISL - Jerusalem

A devastating report from the Adva Center concludes that, although Israel has indeed grown wealthier, it has also grown poorer. According to the study conducted by Dr. Shlomo Swirski, nearly a third of Israeli workers earn the minimum wage or less and the number of poverty stricken people continues to grow.

Finance ministry officials responded to the report saying that it betrays a complete ignorance of the free market philosophy on the part of the authors, "Obviously the growth of the poverty sector in Israel indicates that there are many incentives in the marketplace which encourage Israelis to stop working and become poor," said Hanan Cohen, Director General of the Ministry, "This is quite understandable – for instance, it is much cheaper to become homeless and live on the streets at the expense of the tax paying public.Under these conditions, it is no wonder that the number of people choosing to do so is increasing," said the Director General, who called for stricter laws against the homeless.

Mr Cohen also said that many people have chosen to save money by eating out – mainly from dumpsters that are freely available, "Really, what are people complaining about?" said Hanan, "The trash in Israel is of the highest quality and our studies prove that the average dumpster can feed more than ten families annually."
The Director General proceeded to reprimand the poor for taking things for free from the state, "The poor don't pay taxes, they don't buy anything and, in fact, if so many people didn't chose to become poor, the Israeli economy would be in much better shape."

The Director General admitted, however, that the increase in poverty-stricken Israelis is unlikely to slow down, " Unfortunately Israel is a free market economy so it is illegal as well as harmful for the government to interfere in the occupational choices of the citizens – people have just as much a right to become poor as they do to become rich. It is a personal career choice and has nothing to do with us," said the Director General, concluding, "As long as people think it is better to be poor than to be rich than there is really nothing we can do about it except hope and pray that the 'invisible hand' of the market one day forces these people to become wealthy as nature originally intended. "

In the photo: The invisible hand of the free market shoves another Israeli into the dumpster.

The original report from the Adva Center

The article from Jpost.
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