Don’t Improve the Israeli Government – Just Shrink It

Originally posted at Times of Israel. Please comment there.

Besides war, political campaigns are perhaps the worst thing man inflicts on man. War brings death. Political campaigns…they bring taxes.

Never in my wildest nightmares did I ever guess I would be running in a political campaign. Then again I never guessed I’d end up in the Golan Heights married to a girl I met in kindergarten in Miami. But here I am, playing politician of all things. I’m running for slot #10 on Moshe Feiglin’s Zehut Knesset list.

Let’s get the obligatory politicking out of the way first. Any Jewish person in the world can vote in Zehut’s primaries for slot #10. All you have to do is sign up to Zehut International by December 1st at the link, and you will be eligible to vote online on December 17th. If you believe in what I’m about to say here, then you should vote for me. If you don’t, then you should sign up anyway and vote for somebody else.

So let’s begin. Why are political campaigns such horrible things? Because essentially, they are nothing but a contest for who can convince the most people of the nicest sounding lies. The winners are invariably the worst of the worst, because they are the absolute best liars in the world. If they weren’t they wouldn’t be on top. As Nobel Laureate Austrian School Economist F.A. Hayek wrote in his book “The Road to Serfdom,” it’s always the worst that get on top.

And here I risk another campaign trope to tell you why Moshe Feiglin’s Zehut is different. It’s different because we’re telling you the truth. How can you know we’re telling you the truth? Because the truth isn’t pretty and it isn’t nice, and no real politician would waste his time trying to get votes by telling the truth.

So here’s the truth. The Israeli government stinks, as all governments do. Nothing it does improves anything. Everything it does hurts someone. Everyone in Israel hates the government for one reason or another. Every interest group in Israel hates every other interest group in Israel because of government power used against one group for the sake of the other.

So here’s where I tell you how I’m going to fix it, right? And that’s why you should vote for me, yes? No. I am not going to “fix” the Israeli government. I am not going to make it any better. I am going to shrink it. I am not going to use government in order to make Israel great again. I am going be a voice in the Knesset to allow the People of Israel to make Israel great themselves by getting government out of the way. I am going to do this by supporting any bill
that shrinks the size or scope of the Israeli government and starves the beast, and by voting against any bill that feeds the beast.

In the following paragraphs I’m going to suggest abolishing entire government ministries, and I’m not even going far enough here. If this frightens you, ask yourself if you trust free Jews to provide these services on the free market in the absence of a government ministry. If you don’t, keep in mind, 80% of us never left Egypt.

Do I have any grand master plans? In a manner of speaking, sure. I have an education plan. Not to devise some magical one-size-fits-all curriculum that happens to reflect my personal values and that will make everyone happy somehow. I don’t have that kind of hubris. My plan is nothing. Literally, my plan is to get rid of the entire education ministry, sell off all of its infrastructure and assets and return all proceeds to taxpayers. Let Jews educate themselves on the free market without any government interference. Return education to the private sector and watch schools compete with one another on the free market, instead of watching Jewish kids locked up in inner city Tel Aviv cages where my wife once served as a teaching intern. Teaching basic literacy at these places is considered a major achievement and can get you a serious award. The bureaucrats at the education ministry will all clap for you. It’s a real thrill, I hear.

Zehut’s official plan is a voucher system, which I support. Why, if I want to get rid of the whole thing? Because vouchers allow a basic level of choice for parents and kids. That does weaken government power just a bit, so I support it. But I’m not going to even try to claim that the voucher system will fix everything. It won’t. Fights over the official State curriculum will still abound, religious and secular will still be at each other’s throats over whether the other deserves voucher coupons, Jews will still argue about what gets to be considered a “school”, and fake “schools” will pop up like mushrooms after the post Simchas Torah rainstorm just to collect a voucher check. These are the problems I foresee with a voucher system, but they’re not as bad as what we have now, so it’s a step forward. The Israeli education system will never be fixed until government education no longer exists.

What about my healthcare plan? Once again, nothing. Get rid of the health ministry and let hospitals and clinics and doctors compete on the free market. And let dying patients try any drug they want, approved or not, at any time. That must sound really controversial, to let dying patients try any drug at all, as if mercy for the terminally ill is a controversial Jewish value. No repeal and replace here. Just repeal. Israelis wonder why there is always a chronic shortage of rooms and doctors at hospitals. When one central government authority controls supply of
doctors and medicine and the movement of resources, there are going to be shortages. People die because of this.

Diplomatic plan? The Israeli government has no interest in ending the conflict, because fighting terror brings votes, and too much peace makes voters restless and puts power in jeopardy. The answer as those familiar with Feiglin and Zehut know, is to pay the Arabs to leave all of Israel voluntarily and with dignity. Zehut’s plan is to have the government pay each Arab family $100,000 to leave. I support that, but I do not believe government is even necessary for this.

Norway for example has a voluntary tax program where people can donate to the government if they believe their tax rates are too low. I want the government to simply allow private Jews to pay Arabs to leave through such a voluntary program and buy Arab property in a concerted worldwide Jewish effort. I believe we could raise much more than the $1,325 the Norwegians raised if we knew the Israeli government acquiesced and did nothing to stop it.

What about an economic plan? I’m an economist, so yes, I have one. First let’s admit that government is the only institution that tries to convince you that the more money it takes away from you, the better off you’ll be. Taxes are spent to “stimulate the economy” right? Sure. The only problem is, a mugger can make the same exact claim when he puts a knife to your throat and takes your wallet. Believe me, he spends the money, too, and it stimulates the economy just fine. Except you’re poorer in the end anyway and you feel violated.

My economic plan is to support any and all tax, spending, and regulatory cuts without exception. That is the only way to shrink government short of a bond and currency collapse when debt gets too high, as happened in Israel in the 1980’s and everyone lost their savings. See below.

The more tariffs, restrictions, and regulations we get rid of, the better. Tax and spending cuts targeted at whatever class and in whatever proportions in whatever department, if it’s a tax or spending and regulatory cut, I support it.

We’ll get to other subjects soon. We have until December after all. But first, here’s the only thing the government should actually do. The Israeli government should be doing nothing except physically protecting the People of Israel and enforcing private property rights. That means fighting to win rather than to prolong the next fight. It means returning Jewish property into Jewish hands, including Gush Katif, the Cave of the Patriarchs, and the Temple Mount.

Zehut will become the ruling party when we stick to these principles and everyone in Israel knows exactly what we stand for. We stand for liberty. For cherut. For the very reason God took us out of Egypt. Anyone remember Pharaoh’s tax rate? It was 20%. Israel’s is 50%.

Just some food for thought

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Trading Alert – Calling a Stock Market Crash Between End of August, End of September

I explain why here.

Read that first.

Yesterday I entered the following positions in order to prepare:

4 contracts XBI Sept. 15, 2017 61 PUT, at $0.19 a contract, total cost $76

17 contracts XBI Sept. 15, 2017 62 PUT, at $0.21 a contract, total cost $425

From July 18th, 2015 (today) to the low on August 24th, 2015, XBI fell 33%.

I’m expecting something similar to happen again. My guess is August 27th but it could be any time before October.

If what happened then plays out again, the target low on XBI will be $52.50.

At that price, the 61 PUTs will be worth $8.50. The 62 PUTs will be worth $9.50.

Total risk = $501

Maximum gain on 61 PUT: $3,324

Maximum gain on 62 PUT: $18,801

XBI on August 24th, 2015:

Why Rafi Farber’s Knesset Platform is So Simple

People are asking me my positions on various issues. It’s an understandable question. I’ll answer it briefly here, but I want to emphasize in the post exactly why my personal official Knesset platform is so streamlined and it doesn’t address issue by issue. My platform, to reiterate, is that I will vote against any law that expands government size or power, and for any law that shrinks it. The only exception is if I am personally convinced Israel is under existential and imminent military threat, in which case I will vote to mobilize the army even if government spending is increased as a result.

In terms of positions on specific issues, generally, I agree with much of the Zehut Platform, at least its general direction. For example, I am not a supporter of the government school voucher system per se, but I would vote for it if given the choice between the status quo and school vouchers, because vouchers do limit government power somewhat, and leave it with a little bit less than it has now. So I’m for it, relative to the status quo. Though my goal is to get rid of all government education entirely and to fire every single person in the Education Ministry and repeal the Mandatory Education Law.

So issue by issue, whatever question you may have, I will always come down on the side that I believe is less government power.

Buy why, in a deeper sense, am I restricting my official platform to simply voting against every law that increases power and for any law that decreases it, rather than going issue by issue elucidating details? It goes back to 2012, in a Republican debate in a back-and-forth between Ron Paul and Rick Santorum. Santorum was asked his position on the “No Child Left Behind Act”. This was of course an asinine bill that had the Feds come in and issue these pedantic cookie-cutter exams that did nothing but waste time. Santorum, by his “principles” is against this, which is good, but he voted for it and violated his supposed principles because, in his words “Politics is a team sport.”

In other words, he may have his principles, but when push comes to shove, he has to “play the game”. Here’s the video:

Ron then skewered him, rightfully, by saying this:

Ron continued smashing Santorum beautifully on his voting for Planned Parenthood using the same “politics is a sport” logic. Listen:

Now here’s my point. We can all have specific positions on specific issues, that’s fine. However, if your positions on specific issues do not all flow from the same principle, then you are subject to being abducted into the game of politics and voting for bills you don’t agree with just to get other Knesset Members to vote on bills you want passed. This is what grows government, and I will not play this game.

I will be like Ron Paul, not Rick Santorum. I will not vote for government-funded abortion on the logic that I’m also introducing some stupid government-funded abstinence program. Or, to use the voucher example again, which is on the Zehut Platform, I will not vote for a tax raise just so I can get the school voucher program passed. It’s all a trap, and total nonsense. No deals. If we make deals like this we will never lead the country.

The way laws are passed in the Knesset is that all the menuvalim team up and play the sport and compromise with each other in order to expand the size and scope of the State in some respect, so it never, ever shrinks. I will not violate my principles and vote yes on some spending bill or on any law that restricts liberty just for the sake of having some other politician support me on some other issue. I promise I will not do that. 

So, if you’re a Zehut International member and you are voting in this primary, you should know exactly what I’ll do on every issue, and that’s why I am giving you my principle. If it shrinks government, I vote yes. If it expands government, I vote no. No games, no compromises, no teaming up and violating that principle just to get a different law passed. Zehut must be consistent or we will never lead the country. That means we should never compromise and vote for something we don’t believe in.

If that means voting against the budget even if Zehut is in a coalition, I will vote against the budget. If I’m sanctioned by whoever, then so be it. The way you survive fully human without being eaten alive and becoming a politician is by never giving an inch, just like Ron Paul.

If I win this (in order to vote for me please become a Zehut International member!) I am determined to come out human on the other side, not a politician. If I am to not become a politician, I can never break this principle.

And from this principle, you will know exactly where I stand on every single issue. It’s simply deductive logic. If this is what you want to see, then sign up to Zehut International in order to vote for me.

Rafi Farber for Knesset – If You’re Jewish, You Can Vote

Announcing my campaign for Knesset for seat #10 on Moshe Feiglin’s Zehut Party Knesset list. Before you read anything below, please watch this video.

If you want to see me in the Knesset, then pledge here now please.

Let’s not beat around the bush here. I’m not doing this for money. Not even for a bleepload of money, as Lonestar said in Spaceballs. I won’t be taking a salary or benefits from the State of Israel. Not a shekel. All of my Knesset salary will be donated to the Mises Institute and to the Zehut movement.

I’m doing this, rather, because the Jewish people needs somebody to galvanize the liberty movement in Israel, someone who understands what liberty is and why it is the cornerstone of humanity. Moshe Feiglin, the leader of Zehut, is quite good at that and I don’t want to supplant him, but he needs me to keep him on track philosophically, to keep his eye on the ball so to speak. I was his neighbor for 7 years and he is my investment. We argued constantly about economics on our trips to the Temple Mount in his car. I’ve done my best to keep him on the right path and make sure he does not veer away from liberty. If I’m in the Knesset with him, it will strengthen him.

What will I do as a Knesset Member? Very, very simple. I will vote against every single bill that increases the size or power of the Israeli government. I will vote for every single bill that shrinks the size or power of the Israeli government.

Whenever I am personally unsure if a particular bill will increase or decrease the power of the Israeli government on net, I will confer with Moshe Feiglin because I trust his judgement. It doesn’t mean I will automatically listen to him. I will take his opinion into consideration.

There will only be one single exception to this rule of mine. If I believe the people of Israel are in existential danger from a foreign power, I will vote to mobilize the IDF in self defense. Beyond that, no exceptions.  No coalition discipline will apply to me. I will not yield to any pressure by any interest group under any circumstances. That promise is not directed at you. It is directed at myself.

If this is what you want to see in the Knesset, then support me by pledging at StartSomeGood in order to vote for me when the time comes.

Those with political ambitions, even good ones, try to craft their message to their audience with some kind of intricate step-by-step plan. Formulate what they’re going to do in the Knesset, what bills they’re going to pass, which groups of people they are going to fight for, how they are going to proceed A, B, and C etc. Some of these intricate plans, like Moshe Feiglin’s for example, I even like to some degree. Most of these intricate presentations, however, are not worth much. Why? Because the Knesset does not wait for your step-by-step plan. Spending bills and new laws restricting our lives and milking us for all we’re worth are passed all the time and no intricate, step-by-step political plan can stop it unless you have absolute power. None of us do.

I could go into excruciating detail about what I want to see happen, from privatization of money, all the way down to minimum wage (abolish it). But you don’t have the time and we don’t need to weave fantasies here. Let’s get real.

That’s why my promise is so extremely simple. Any law that increases the power or size of the Israeli government I will vote against. Any law that shrinks it I will vote for.

I will represent no particular group of people, no pooled interest, because that would mean I will be the enemy of a different group of people. I will represent no one in particular. I will simply be fighting for everyone whose lives will benefit from more liberty. In other words, everybody, whether they realize it or not.

This is what I promise, and this is what I will do. If ever I get any more power or influence somehow, I will continue that promise from higher positions, if that’s what God has in store for me.

Now, the choice is yours. Pledge here and help me win.