After almost seven months of institutionalised anarchy — during which the previous government fell apart, tried to reassemble itself, failed, crumbled, called elections, which took three months, produced no clear result, the non-victor spent weeks constructing a contradictory coalition, Labour flipped and flopped its way in, ministries were multiplied and then divided up, the government was installed, the Cabinet managed to somehow squeeze into the Cabinet room – after all that, a few questions are in order. Indeed, with the new government immediately picking up the baton from its predecessor with regard to what the British refer to as ‘helping the police with their inquiries’, it would be nice to get some help from the Prime Minister or one of his under-employed underlings with the following inquiries:
1. What’s this?
This extensive entourage of nobodies doing nothing, this irrational exuberance of excessive egomania – what’s it all about? Is it not clear even to ‘leaders’ cut-off from anyone other than sycophantic tuches-leckers, that installing this monstrous montage of ministerial meaninglessness has, at a stroke, made this government irredeemably ridiculous in the eyes of the nation? In terms of leadership, it’s all over before it’s even begun. The government has collectively given the finger to the public; the message has been received.
2. What proposals, initiatives, laws, etc. do you have in mind?
After all, while you were struggling with the Herculean task of creating a coalition with your ‘natural allies’ and finding sufficient jobs for the boys and girls, the record for the number of people fired in a month was broken in successive months. Out here in the real world, jobs are disappearing, credit is unavailable, pensions are evaporating and confidence has collapsed. While you and the rest of the political elite were out to your seven-month, multi-martini lunch, the global and domestic economies fell off a cliff. In every other country, from ‘Communist’ China to ‘Capitalist’ America, governments have been forced to rethink old verities, move from orthodox to unorthodox polices and generally do things they previously considered impossible or unthinkable.
You, however – together with the other ‘leaders’ of the ‘major’ parties – conducted an election campaign in which you refrained from discussing the economy and refused to present any comprehensive plan or set of policies. You avoided revealing who your Finance Minister would be. You pretended that you would be the President of the US and draft a leading businessman to the post, with you in overall control. In short, you treated the public with contempt and showed you have no understanding of how a parliamentary system of government – the sort we have, not the one you want – actually works. Now you have appointed a very smart guy who has no ministerial experience and no background in economic theory or management – the worst possible combination of qualities. So be it. Yet instead of urgently addressing the immediate crisis, you have deferred action for another three months, whilst you draft a ‘two-year’ budget, which will be based on over-optimistic assumptions regarding economic recovery in 2010, and will therefore be ‘adjusted’ (read razed and rebuilt) down the road.
3. What are your policy ideas?
Yours and not ours. It seems that you are still on your tax-cuts-are-the-panacea trip. The budget deficit is exploding as revenues collapse – and you say you want to cut taxes? Fortunately, Shas and Labour wheedled out of you some desperately-needed extra spending, targeted at the desperately-needy (whom you crushed in your last innings). But the old mantras of trickle-down tax cuts and reduced government involvement across the board won’t do the job this time. You may believe in smaller government; you may even be right; but even Stanley Fischer, who has been holding the fort in the absence of a functioning government, has realised that most of the economic theory he wrote and preached is in abeyance, at the least, and may have been consigned to the trashcan of history.
4. Don’t wait for them to ask
You tell ’em. People don’t want smaller government. They believe government should come to their rescue – and that it can deliver salvation. If you don’t believe that, have the courage to say so and try and persuade them why you are right and they are wrong – and then tell them what you think they should do according to your by-your-bootstraps survival manual. And good luck in the next Likud Central Committee meeting and the next leadership primary…