Woman of the Year

Shelly Yacimovich considers herself a social democrat, but the truth is that she is a socialist from the old-fashioned school that has ceased to exist.

The Jewish year 5772 was a most successful year for Shelly Yacimovich. She was elected chairman of the Labor Party last September and since then, she has soared. The media love her and give her plenty of coverage and she knows how to supply the goods. Under her leadership, Labor has increased its membership, and all the signs indicate that following the next elections, on the assumption that the Likud will win, she will be in the government. Therefore Yacimovich is the woman of the year in politics. A kind of local Cinderella story.

But the Cinderella of the fable was an agreeable young woman who did nothing but good to all those that she met. Will Yacimovich do us good as well?

She considers herself a social democrat, but the truth is that she is a socialist from the old-fashioned school that has ceased to exist. She has not internalized the laws of economics and does not understand that first, one has to achieve growth, and that only then is it possible to argue over how the cake will be divided. She believes in deep government intervention and from her point of view, "the government isn't the problem, it's the solution."

The truth, of course, is exactly the opposite. The government is indeed the problem. Or to be more exact, the problem is the huge public sector that numbers 700,000 employees. Clearly there are many employees in that sector that are good and necessary workers, but there are also many that are superfluous; and the private sector has to bear this burden.

Yacimovich is an ardent supporter of the big workers' committees. That is an anti-socialist act because, for example, when you support the inflated salaries of the workers at the Israel Electric Corporation and oppose firing 2,000 unnecessary employees there, you are sentencing the entire people of Israel, including the weakest sectors, to pay overpriced electricity bills, because the company would drown in debt without a way to pay all those unnecessary salaries. The same is true of the Israel Ports Company, the Airports Authority and all the other government monopolies.

A considerable part of Yacimovich's popularity stems from the populist platitudes that she dispenses so easily. Only recently, when the price of bread went up, she proposed simply that it be subsidized, without understanding that that would be an anachronistic step that would merely lead to problems. There is no western country in the world that subsidizes bread. Not even the Scandinavian countries. Perhaps there are subsidies of that kind in North Korea, but that is a country that suffers from great poverty and distress.

And now that the government is being forced to cut the state budget, Yacimovich is opposed to reducing the salaries of those in the public sector. But why is it acceptable to make cuts in the private sector and not in the public one? After all, if they don't cut wages in the public sector, it will be necessary to make cuts in government activities, and thus will impose an additional burden on the private sector.

Yacimovich does not understand the importance of preserving the budgetary framework. From her point of view, it is possible to increase expenditures without repercussions and to raise taxes in the midst of economic growth. A hocus pocus of the Houdini kind. It is only a shame that the Europeans countries have not heard about this magic trick and so, are continuing to make cuts.

Yacimovich was opposed to the public protest over the price of cottage cheese last year. From her point of view, we can pay crazy prices for dairy products as long as she does not lose the support of the workers' committee at Tnuva. She even opposed the "chicken for one shekel" sale that Rami Levi held at his supermarkets. She does not understand that Levi knows how to sell things at a discount and still make more of a profit than the other supermarket chains.

Yacimovich supports the ultra-Orthodox. She is in favor of raising child allowances, and you will not hear a single word of criticism from her about the fact that they do not join the Israel Defense Forces, do not work, and treat women in a disgraceful fashion. Of course, this is not in keeping with the socialism that sanctifies the values of work, equality and solidarity and cringes from parasitism.

In terms of politics, Yacimovich will not have any problem joining a government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu. She does not speak about peace, and on the subjects of the settlers, she has said that she "does not consider the settlement enterprise a sin or a crime." She also does not criticize the occupation even though a real socialist cannot remain apathetic to the suffering, oppression and poverty that are caused by the occupation. Yacimovich also ignores the fact that the billions of shekels being sent to the settlements are being taken away from Sderot and Ma'alot.

All of this leads to the conclusion that, contrary to Cinderella, Yacimovich will not do us good.