Here are my Two Cents about Paris Trois, or Two Billion Dollars for that matter, at the end of the day it's all the same.
First of all, the Siniora Reform Plan is not reform or a plan, let's call it what it is a to do list. While I appreciate the work of the world bank intern who worte the list, it's more than most Lebanese public servants have ever done for the country, but it does not address any of the problems of the Lebanese abyss of public funds known as Government.
The Lebanese Economy is bleeding extensively from its severed extremities, and the proposed cure is a Band Aid Bandage. (Siniora's office just issued a statement and billboards assuringthe Lebanese people that they will get a Full Box of Band Aid, and maybe even a whole case if the opposition goes home.)
The Lebanese Economy's health is comparable to that of Ariel Sharon, so drastic measures are needed to salvage it. The Siniora reform plan simply does not do that. It will deepen the problem and then force the Lebanese to sell off all they had and still have the same problems down the road.
Higher taxes, privatization, and longer work hours are not necessarily bad, they might be necessary, but adopting these measures right now would be disasterous. It would be a reward to those who got us into this dilemma in the first place.
Let's start with the tax hike. I'll spare you all the talk about poor people being hit the worst, and all the political exploitation that the lame opposition is practicing. Any tax hike, and especially when it's an extreme 50% tax hike, should be accompanied with detailed transparent accounting of how this extra income will be spent. Funding the debt service is fine and dandy, but how about more details especially when this debt wreaks of conflict of interest. Is it really in Hariri inc.'s favor to lower the debt when they are ultimately getting a good healthy chunk of the debt servicing through their generous financial institutions. Ok, I'll keep it short and simple since these issues could go on and on.
Privatization, or more accurately Harirization, of Public properties, usually helps improve services by distancing them from the cancer of government bureaucracy. So far no problem looking at it from rightist economics. Let's look at the electric company for example. I don't buy the excuse that the problem is unfixable because the employees are politically protected, because we know that the decision to privatize the company can not pass without the political green light from the same people protecting these employees. So if Privatization is an option, then cleaning up the company should also be a viable option given there is a will to do so, since it is the same political obstacle that faces both options. Fix some of the problems and then sell off at a higher price, but the problem becomes when the potential buyer also signs for the seller in the sales transaction, would he be interested in getting the most for the people out of the sale or would he want to get a low price on the purchase.
4 extra work hours a week will increase productivity. Oh really? That shows you that Mr. Soiniora has not been to any government office. How will 4 extra hours of Solitaire help productivity? These extra hours will be punishment to the handful of workers who do actually earn their paycheck, as for the rest which are the grand majority, well they are probably rotfloling at this suggestion.
Anyways, this nonreform plan is disasterous for Lebanon, catastrophic actually and the people should prevent these commitments from being undertaken at any price. The opposition has not provided an alternative plan yet, and thus are actually acting as alibis to this robbery. Well some of the opposition figures are partners in crime with Hariri Inc. so no surprises there.
To stop this heist I hereby issue a fatwa that:
1.) any action the Lebanese people take to stop this robbery, including the breaking in and liberation of the Grand Serail, is legitimate self defense.
2.) the Lebanese people are entitled to reclaim their robbed funds in any way and as many ways they see fit; whether by robbing banks, pickpocketing Randa Berri, or just stealing grapes from the Kefraya Vineyards.
Wa 3ushtum, wa 3asha Lubnan.