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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The wrong solution

New data published on Tuesday shows that 20% of Israelis cannot afford food.
One fifth of Israel’s citizens cannot afford to purchase an adequate amount of food in order to subsist, new data from the National Insurance Institute (NII) released Tuesday at the Sderot Conference for Society have revealed.

Presented at a panel featuring representatives of the Ministries of Welfare and Social Affairs and Finance, local authorities and the non-profit sector, the NII shared the findings of a survey of some 5000 families showing that ten percent of the population suffers from some level of starvation or nutritional insecurity and nearly 20% feel extreme financial insecurity.

The survey’s results also showed that 13% of those questioned said they are often forced to go without enough food and 4% said they forgo food completely.

In addition, one third of the respondents said they had used money for food to make other essential purchases instead and 20% they had to turn to friends or family members for help in buying food.
But as usual, the government is suggesting the wrong solution.
“There is a serious problem with nutritional insecurity whereby people are forced to go without enough food or without food completely; in other cases families find food but it is not appropriate or healthy,” commented the Welfare Ministry’s Director General Nahum Itzkovitz.

However, he said to use the term “hunger” might be a little extreme.

There are problems feeding the needy, admitted Itzkovitz: “a close examination of food distribution by the third sector reveals that while some families are receiving ample food, there are others who get no help at all.”

“There is also a problem with the quality of the food,” he said.

Itzkovitz suggested a program of distributing ration cards so that those in need will be able to “purchase food with dignity.”

Such a program, he added, had already been presented to the Prime Minister and an agreement was reached to create it on a small scale.
The last thing this country needs is another entitlement program.

The cost of food in this country is outrageous. The cost of cottage cheese has come down (slightly) since last summer, but staples like milk, bread and produce - let alone meat, chicken and fish - continue to be outrageously expensive due to a lack of competition, government regulation and government subsidies. The percentage of its budget that an Israeli family spends on food is often 30% or more - even higher for poor people with large families.

Giving people food stamps will give those who sell the food another excuse to raise the prices.

We don't need another subsidy. We need the price of food to come down for everyone. We need real competition (including imports).

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At 8:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


2011 Index of Economic Freedom: Israel


In the most recent year, total government expenditures,
including consumption and transfer payments, fell to 42.9
percent of GDP
. Privatization has accelerated in recent
years. Since 2007, authorities have respected a cap on real
spending growth of 1.7 percent. Years of prudent fiscal
policy have reduced public debt from 100 percent of GDP
in 2003 to 80 percent, but crisis-reaction policies widened
the fiscal deficit to 5 percent of GDP.


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