"Yes, it's hard. We knew it would be hard, but that is not the same thing as when it really happens. It's hard, and people are angry, but is exactly what it means to take responsibility: do what is hard, knowing that people will be angry at you," wrote Minister of Finance Yair Lapid today on his Facebook page in response to the austerity measures in the 2013-14 budget. "We'll get through this together," he added.
"It's not that I am complaining, heaven forbid. The public has it tougher, but this anger should not blind us to the truth. The alternative was no less than the collapse of the economy. If we were to do nothing, the budget hole would grow and grow, debts would explode, and social services would collapse. Every time you see on television the smoke-filled squares in a crumbling country, know that behind them were spendthrift politicians who could not withstand pressure. This will not happen on my watch. In this way, at least it will be brief. Within two years, the country will look completely different."
Lapid said that while the middle class would suffer most of the austerity measures, it was not alone. "Sometime, what is tough is also just. For the first time in years, the Israeli middle class is not the only ones paying the price. This time, we also dared to go where no one has gone before: the companies tax, luxury goods, the Law for the Encouragement of Capital Investments, and sectors and communities which until now enjoyed political immunity."
Lapid called on the public to see the whole plan, saying, "It is true that the middle class has been hurt in the short term, but this cut is only part of the overall plan, which will reduce the cost of living, create jobs, lower prices for housing and water, and will bring about an equal sharing of the burden and improve the lives of the working man. In hard times, there are always two alternatives: decide that you are alone, or emerge from them together. We will emerge from this together, and better than how we entered it."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 7, 2013
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