Yacimovich Isn't a Real Socialist

Not only is the leader of Israel's Labor Party Shelly Yacimovich dressing up as a free market supporter for Halloween, but at heart she isn't even a real socialist.

The picture was of Shelly Yacimovich, and the caption also testified that it was she. Nevertheless, I found it hard to believe that the interview published in TheMarker on Sunday was really conducted with the head of the Labor Party.

Before our very eyes, a complete metamorphosis occurred. Yacimovich shed her previous image and proclaimed herself a "friend of the business sector," someone who is "in favor of competition" and "the free market," too, and even someone who "doesn't oppose lowering customs duties."

After I recovered from the shock, I understood what had happened. Tomorrow, the United States and Canada will celebrate Halloween, a holiday on which it is customary to wear costumes; Yacimovich apparently decided to take part in the holiday and dress up as someone else, someone a bit more rational, in the hope that we'd fall into the trap.

But have no fear; we won't. Yacimovich remains a devout neo-Marxist, who once even voted for Hadash (a successor to the Israel Communist Party ). She opposes competition, the market economy, privatization, reduced customs duties and competitive imports; she has always favored big government, the kind with a huge budget and enormous taxes that would run everything from on high. No costume will change this reality.

We won't forget how she supported Nochi Dankner when he sought to strengthen his cement monopoly, Nesher, or how she declared that "monopolies aren't always bad." We won't forget how she opposed lowering the price of cottage cheese, or how she objected to the Rami Levy supermarket chain's "chicken for a shekel" deals, all out of a complete lack of understanding of economic theory.

In her interview with TheMarker, she criticized Rami Levy and his wife for getting "millions in dividends" from his company. What ignorance. After all, there's nothing wrong with getting dividends; everyone gets dividends in proportion to his investment. The problem with Levy and his wife was that they took millions in salaries. But someone who doesn't understand anything about economics also doesn't understand the difference between a dividend and a salary.

Yacimovich scattered so many incorrect statements in her interview that it can make you dizzy. For instance, she said that 50 percent of Israeli workers are poor, though the correct figure is 13 percent. She said that Israel Electric Corporation employees earn an average of NIS 17,000 a month, when the real figure is NIS 22,000 - not including free electricity, which is worth another NIS 1,000 to NIS 1,500 a month. She said she is for competition, but in the same breath said she opposes setting up private power plants. She spoke in favor of streamlining, but opposed firing the IEC's thousands of superfluous workers, on account of whom we all, even the poorest among us, pay excessively high electricity rates. In effect, she defended the fat cats - that is, the big unions that make laughingstocks of the rest of us and force us to pay high prices.

Because she doesn't understand a thing about economics, she also gets confused about the way legislation affects the economy. For instance, she said our effective corporate tax rate is too low, but when asked whether she supports repealing the Law for the Encouragement of Capital Investments, which is the cause of this low effective tax rate, she answered, "Heaven forbid, I'm in favor of the Law for the Encouragement of Capital Investments."

Contrary to her statement in the interview, Yacimovich has always opposed lowering customs duties. She simply doesn't understand that lowering tariffs enables competition, which results in increased efficiency and lower prices. She doesn't understand that opening up the economy produces growth and reduces unemployment - just as happened in the 1990s, when duties on textiles and appliances were lowered. In her chutzpah, she criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the interview for "exceeding the deficit target," but throughout the last Knesset term, she promoted and supported massive increases in government spending in every possible area.

Yacimovich's position on the ultra-Orthodox is warped and bizarre. Instead of demanding full equality, as a neo-Marxist should, she proposes that they go to work only if they so please, and doesn't demand that they serve in the army for the same period as the other recruits. On the political front, she never even mentions the word "peace," and regarding the settlers, she once said she "doesn't view the settlement enterprise as a sin and a crime." Nor does the brutal occupation trouble her in the least.

Not only is Yacimovich dressing up as a free market supporter for Halloween, but at heart she isn't even a real socialist.