Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Le Fatwa

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.

21 comments:

frencheagle said...

hehehe gr8 one

about the EDL we should split the distribution into several compagnies, the production as well and the bill collection as well and allow each one to compete

for ex, distribution in jbeil must be independant from production in jbeil and EDJ should be able to buy electricity in Damour etc...
instead they want to sell EDL into one bloc, allowing the harirization of the company ...

by the way, loved that expression :)

on the other side, i do not see anything in this plan of reform about monetary reforms, we have gaps btw nominal and real interest rates that are plunmbing the public finances.
As long we wont touch this hariri LP-USD parity rate dogme we wont be able to save the economy

What is "Occupation" said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jamal said...

Occupation,

irrelevant comment try again.

Anonymous said...

we are talking economics? not politics?
ok. economically speaking the international army bases greatly add to Lebanese income in various ways, they are a much needed diversification of the tourist industry, plus the main reason international donors are prepared not to probe the likelyhood of getting their money back in the near or far-away future - without granting new loans :-) -, plus the destruction caused by war greatly supports construction business which is the classical first step of any economic programme targeting unemployment

Anonymous said...

Nice..
Note: Harirization...hahahaha...loved it too :D

EDB said...

Excellent post, Imam Jamal

MarxistFromLebanon said...

Good post, I wrote extensively on the topic as well

MFL

hillz said...

"any action the Lebanese people take to stop this robbery, including the breaking in and liberation of the Grand Serail, is legitimate self defense."

u opened the gates of hell..
keefak mullah jamal?

Anonymous said...

c) might as well go down to Haret Hreik and knock on Uncle Nasrallah and ask him for compensation due to the billions lost thanks to his reckless actions

d) while you're at it, you might want to ask him how come, everyone under his protection donùt have to pay utility bills? That might help our dire situation as well

e) while you're at it, how about asking him why all the donated stuff from Lebanese and the international community due to his summer f*ck-up, is being used to shelter "demonstrators" downtown and not used for its intended purpose?

f) oh and another thing, how about giving those 30 USD he is giving to each "demonstrator" to Lebanon?

Shall I go on? All this to say, that while I take note that you recognize that some of the "opposition" figures are also responsible, given your lack of criticism of all the opposition idiots, in addition to the government idiots, you yourself are an alibi to the opposition attempted robbery that is taking place at the moment.

What is "Occupation" said...

Jamal said...
Occupation,

irrelevant comment try again.


why not leave it up?

my thoughts to powerful?

judging by the nonsense most others post, i'd say your just scared.

enjoy your white elephant...

The Dreamer said...

Occupation said:
"my thoughts to powerful?"

hilarious dude, how do u come up with this stuff? if you ever get bored of your job as Jamal's blog resident, you should try stand up comedy.

Charles Malik said...

Excellent points.

Lebanese scholars love talking about microcredit. The Hariri neo-liberals should be pushing this given that they claim that they support a neo-liberal agenda, but then again, they do love eating larger and larger sectors of the Lebanese economy.

Anonymous said...

What will happen next? say the government resigned, what next? Don't laugh at yourselves guys, March 14th won't give a "blocking third" to March 8th. March 8th won't accept being in a government without the having the "securing third". Berri won't hold a parliament session. Tell me what next?

Your fatwa is great, but in case we're going to break in the Grand Serail to liberate the country, we might as well break in Baabda and kick Lahhoud out, so we re-gain the paralysed presidency, does that make sense?

And so we won't be accused of being "sectarian" in our actions, why NOT break in the parliament and force Berri to hold a parliament session and discuss the situation?

You are against the economic reform plan, PLEASE suggest a better one, or at least guidlines...

Wake up people...Wake up.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jamal said...

Kids, no personal insults, if you're incapable of debating intelligently and insults are all you got, than make sure you keep them for the politicians themselves and not my readers.

Anonymous said...

in all the countries of the world

when you adopt the TVA system you have to stop apllying custom duties.

except in Lebanon we have both and they dare talking about raising this TVA

Ali said...

Anon,

If I am not mistaken, the economic plan clearly states that as the VAT rises the custom duties fall.

All,

If there is any other economic plan/strategy/idea that someone proposes please go ahead. It is not right to criticize a plan without having anything else to offer.

Thanks

Jamal said...

Ali and all others who are more demanding of bloggers and blog readers than they are of their public servants,

When I run for office you'll get a full economic strategy and more, until then I will continue to ask those who are getting paid to do the job for you and me to deliver and not just shit on you and me.

What is "Occupation" said...

All,

If there is any other economic plan/strategy/idea that someone proposes please go ahead. It is not right to criticize a plan without having anything else to offer.

Thanks

yes, get rid of hezbollah, syria and iran.. return the dead idf solders that have ben murdered, join the world's nations and become a real country, encourage tourism and trade..

as long as hezbollah, iran and syria can cause billions in damage to lebanon, no one will invest in it...

Anonymous said...

Occupation July 2006 = Death Wishes

"live by the kassam, die by the idf rocket...."

Occupation January 2007 = Economic Advice

"encourage tourism and trade..as long as hezbollah, iran and syria can cause billions in damage to lebanon, no one will invest in it... "

Occupation July 2007 = Spiritual Guidance??

Anonymous said...

Wow,

i have finished reading the history of Lebanon's economic history since the last civil war...

wow...

40 billion missing...

now i understand, the measley amount of "infrastructure" destroyed by the IDF at the prompting by hezbollah was nothing...

maybe the best economic plan is allowing Iran to bankroll lebanon?

or maybe, just a thought...

oil is now selling at 50 bucks a barrel...

that's 20 bucks a barrel more than historic (short-term) averages...

how much do the opec arab member make in INCREASES in the last 3 yrs?

so how many barrels of oil a DAY are shipped from the top 5 opec producers?

and how much INCREASE of profits have they gained?

40,000,000,000 is chump change...