Opinion: The long-awaited state budget was much needed, but it will likely follow by a dream-crushing economic reality; Israel must acknowledge that new taxes and price hikes will deal a deadly blow to many households
https://www.ynetnews.com-Hadar Gil-Ad |
Coalition members after the state budget was approved(Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch)
Three exhausting years of waiting for the state budget have come to an end last weekend with a victory in the Knesset for the strangest and most diverse coalition ever seen in Israel.
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Israel needed a state budget like people need oxygen to breathe. Three years of political stalemate have taken a heavy toll on all of us, especially considering that two of them we spent in the midst of a global pandemic. The health crisis has damaged the welfare and social affairs systems and made them lose their life force.
It’s great the budget was passed, but at what cost? Alongside innovative reforms adorned with cautious optimism, the passing of the bill will likely follow by a dream-crushing economic reality for many Israelis.
A reality where young couples raise their children without the ability to purchase a home; where people work day and night just to make it through the month, and come back to a tiny apartment, because that’s all they can afford to rent; where people systematically settle for a lower quality of life, wishing for better days.
Those people eventually will find themselves giving up on a dream which – for most of us is a standard – of a hot meal, electricity, and a roof over their head.
Now, with the upcoming wave of new taxes and price hikes, the already impoverished families will also find themselves forced to give up on a dream of creating a better future for their children, to prevent another generation from growing in poverty, which would only increase inequality.
My mom always says that life isn’t black and white, there’s also gray, and a lot of it.
The approved budget brought with it a great deal of news, but it’s worth at least acknowledging that the wave of consumer price hikes that accompanies it will affect many households. The long-awaited budget brought a lot of hope, but it also shattered many dreams along the way, especially coming off a pandemic-induced economic crisis.
The pandemic caught the welfare and social affairs systems in the country off-guard, and amid a growing “social deficit”, when more and more people seek to lean on these systems for help.
It has been almost two years since the global pandemic has claimed its first economic victims and severely damaged many middle-class families, who lost their livelihoods. Not to mention the needy families that fell beyond the poverty line.
While the current government agenda is focused on COVID vaccines and restoration of our economy, Israel needs to acknowledge that some households are far from returning to their the pre-pandemic life. And for them, the upcoming price increases are another nail in the coffin.