The Bottom Line / George vs. George

American billionaire George Soros recently opened up a new front: the removal of George W. Bush from office in the November 2004 elections.

Soros. American billionaire George Soros recently opened up a new front: the removal of George W. Bush from office in the November 2004 elections. Soros was born in Hungary. He lived as a Jewish child under the Nazi regime and later under the Communists, loathing both. But when he fights Bush now, he doesn't hesitate to say the current Bush administration reminds him of Nazi rule due to its belief in America's superiority and constant warmongering in an attempt to control the world.

Soros has undergone a complete turnaround in his world view. He now has come out against the capitalist system, market economics and even warned that capitalism causes financial market crises that cause serious social problems. The only problem with this is that Soros has made his tremendous fortune from exactly this sort of financial crisis, by worsening and deepening the crisis at the expense of those "serious social problems" he is now lamenting.

Dick. Bezeq yesterday stopped being a government company, after Swiss investment bank UBS paid NIS 627 million for a 5.25 percent stake in the national phone company. That was an expression of confidence in the Israeli economy and in Bezeq itself.

This week company CEO Amnon Dick announced that profitability at the company is in terrible shape as revenues drop and spending doesn't. This is exactly the problem of a monopoly that suddenly encounters competition. It must shed layers of fat - which is necessary because in addition to the current competition with the cellular service providers, the international long-distance market will soon be completely deregulated and the landline sector is not far behind.

Godovitch. Failed (former) Tel Aviv city engineer Yisrael Godovitch tried to get elected to the city council, but failed. His campaign literature reminded me of the alchemists who tried to fashion gold from garbage. He proposed that Tel Aviv residents not pay for parking and not pay municipal tax (arnona).

So what would finance the municipality? Godovitch explained he would cut the number of city officials (why didn't he do that as city engineer?). As far as municipal tax goes, he developed a crazy theory that collection costs on residential municipal taxes are higher than revenues so if the tax is abolished, city hall would be NIS 150 million better off every year. So maybe he should run now for finance minister and teach us how to abolish income tax and save state money.

Naor. In the race for the attorney general's seat, a few names that would refurbish the justice system's image in one fell swoop - restoring the credibility it lost in the Elyakim Rubinstein era - are missing. These people would not cower before Prime Minister Ariel Sharon or his sons, would fearlessly fight corruption and crime without prejudice. But that may be exactly the reason the government is ensuring that the names of Professor Mordechai Kremnitzer and Supreme Court Justice Miriam Naor are not on the agenda.