The opinions expressed on this blog are presented solely by the author and do not necessarily reflect the Zehut platform.

The Rafi Farber Blog

 

 

 

I am an Austrian School libertarian economist, securities analyst, and financial journalist, originally from Miami. I now live in the Golan with my family, but beforehand I was Moshe Feiglin's next door neighbor in Karnei Shomron for 7 years. Every month we would ride together to Har Habayit and debate economics and monetary policy, my personal area of expertise. He and I agree on almost everything else. 

 

You have a right to know exactly what I will do as a Knesset Member in every single case even before I am in office God willing, and it is simply this. I will vote against every bill that grows the size or power of the Israeli government over Am Yisrael. I will also vote for every bill that shrinks the size or power of government over us. If I am unsure in any particular circumstance, I will consult with Moshe for his opinion, as well as yours as Zehut International members, and share my concerns with you before I vote. The one singular exception to this rule of mine will be if Israel is under threat, in which case I will obviously vote to mobilize Tzahal. 

 

If Zehut is going to lead Israel, we cannot afford to approach the Knesset as simply technicians trying to tweak this or that aspect of government function, or improve this or that government program. Government cannot be improved on a long term basis. It must simply be shrunk, programs and regulations eliminated and privatized. Trying to improve government as a technocrat is how you get embroiled and poisoned by the game of politics and lose yourself in a web of wheeling and dealing. 

 

Once Am Yisrael sees that we are serious about liberty in Israel and that we do not compromise on our principles, we will become the leadership party that Moshe Feiglin designed us to be. Only by doing that will Moshe become Prime Minister. Then we can get the real big things done that we all want, like ending Oslo and paying the Arabs to leave voluntarily. 

 

You should know as a voter that I personally do not accept any money from the government and therefore the salary I get as an MK will be donated back to Zehut every month, as I have always done with any cash subsidy the State of Israel has ever given me since 2012. (Just ask Shmuel Sackett.)

 

This is my word and I will not break it. If this is what you want to see in the Knesset, then vote for me. 

 

For a deeper look into my (anti)political thought, please see this post at Times of Israel.

Personal Goals and Policies

I am an Austrian School economist and a principled libertarian. I am not the “safe choice” in these primaries, but I am the best choice because I will bring Zehut the most votes. I’m not speaking narrowly about our first Knesset term but more importantly for our second and third. Here’s exactly what I mean.

To make Moshe Feiglin Prime Minister we must all act like leaders. We must make an impression and we must do it quickly to ensure that we will become Israel’s biggest party.

That said, there are two possible approaches for Zehut’s first Knesset term. First, we can compromise principles for the sake of passing some minor part of the Zehut platform. If we succeed, you will then get a proud email about it minus the fact that government had to be expanded. Israelis will see right through this and we won’t return to the Knesset with the same strength, or at all, G-d forbid.

Or, we can show Am Yisrael who we really are by never compromising principles. We set the tone. We lead.

Israelis are not looking for another faction that can play politics and bring home the bacon to its constituents. They are craving a principled group that stands out. We are that party, and I will make sure we remain that party. Take that path, and Moshe Feiglin will lead the whole country.

Don’t get me wrong though! Compromise itself is fine as long as it is only over degree, but never principle. Basic example: If I want a 10% tax cut but can only get 5%, I’ll take 5%.  More complex example: If Zehut can end the IDF draft but other factions insist on more spending, as long as it is absolutely clear that savings from ending the draft outweighs any new spending increases, I’m for it, but it has to be obvious. If I am in any way unsure, I will consult with Zehut International members first for input.

I personally will never vote for any bill that I believe expands government on net, no matter who pressures me. Neither will I accept a shekel in salary from the State. Honesty and consistency are the core of my own Jewish identity, and it is Jewish identity that Israel is yearning for.

My top 3 specific legislative goals:

  1. To break the Bank of Israel’s monopoly on the Israeli money supply by allowing taxpayers to pay taxes in any currency they choose. This makes any currency legal tender de facto, and strikes at the core of government corruption by introducing competition to the shekel. Read more about this here.

  2. To allow terminally ill patients to come to Israel to participate in clinical trials to save their lives, with no restrictions save basic consent. Patients are now prevented from trying any drug they choose by the FDA. I want to help save these people and by doing so be a light unto the nations.

  3. To end the IDF draft so those who do not want to serve can get a job and support those who do want to serve, and stop wasting taxpayer money. Read more about this here.

Other Zehut MKs will lead efforts on other issues. I of course agree with Zehut’s stance on Arabs, terrorism, and the rest. The above 3 are simply the issues that I will personally focus on.

Why I Oppose the French Law to Grant Immunity to a Prime Minister

 

9 Cheshvan 5778/October 29, '17 

Never give the state any more power than it already has. It will always come back to hurt you, every time. No state official should be immune to any investigation, least of all a Prime Minister. Pretty much the only respite we simple Jews have from constant government harassment is when the state stops spending our money and regulating our behavior and instead fights itself, blissfully forgetting about us for just a moment.

Consider, the only time in recent history there has ever been a government surplus in the US was under President Clinton, who spent most of his time dealing with investigations and impeachment proceedings.

Whether it’s serious harassment like forced evacuations and destruction of Jewish property, or minor harassment like filling out some bureaucratic form or other in order to do construction on your own house, when the State fights itself, the simple people win. So why make it harder for the state to attack itself?

I’m nobody’s chassid. I listen to differing opinions from all sides, but I don’t consider any of them holy, not even the opinions straight from the mouth of the leader of my party. A Prime Minister should never have immunity from investigation.

This new law is called the “French Law”. The point of the “French Law” is to make it almost impossible to indict a sitting Prime Minister. Moshe has his reasons to support the law, I understand them, but I disagree with them. Here is Moshe’s main claim verbatim, which I’ll translate loosely and then object to.

“הרבה יותר משאני מפחד משחיתות המנהיגים, אני מפחד מדיקטטורת חבורת שלטון החוק. את המושחתים בצמרת יש לי כוח להחליף כל ארבע שנים. את הכנופיה אין לי”

Says Moshe, “More than I fear the corruption of our leaders, I fear the dictatorship of the rule of law gang. Corrupt leaders I can vote out of office every four years. Unelected leaders, I can’t vote out.”

He’s referring to what Americans call the Deep State. Supreme Court justices are unelected in Israel, and so are part of the Deep State, as are most of the powerful bureaucratic positions referred to here offhand. It’s the unelected leaders, the Deep State, that mess around with the system to undermine the elected leaders, and therefore this law will be better for the balance of power.

Respectfully, I get it, but don’t agree. Making any part of the government stronger means they will be even worse than before.

Elected leaders and unelected leaders are on the same team. They don’t oppose each other. There is no difference between them. A sitting Prime Minister, immune to investigation, will be much better able to fulfill the goals of that unelected Deep State. Whether that’s destruction of settlements, freeing murderers in a good-will gesture, raising taxes, aggravating businesses, etc. the government will be more powerful than otherwise. Nothing good comes of powerful government.

In what sense is Bibi an “elected” leader anyway? Because 20% of voters dislike him slightly less than everyone else who ran? And then he builds coalitions with the people that these 20% dislike even more, and calls it a “government”? How do you replace him? His replacements will do the same thing he does. We all know this. So what’s the difference?

We can see the futility of “elected leaders” by the direction government goes in, all the time, no matter who you vote for. Consider the direction we are headed, not just in Israel, but globally. Government everywhere is growing – all around the world. Government budgets take up more and more of GDP by percentage, and with ever-growing budgets, government debt all over the world just keeps rising. States everywhere, globally, keep eating more and more and more of our wealth, no matter who we vote for.

Trump, for example, hasn’t cut a dime. He’s only increased spending, made airport travel even more miserable than before, he wants to raise all kinds of taxes, and any “tax reform” he proposes will be “revenue neutral”, meaning the government will, at best, still get the same amount of money from us, just in different slices from different people.

In Europe, despite a continent wide debt-crisis, not a single EU government has cut any debt. Not even Greece. It just doesn’t happen. Elections cannot change it. The unelected Deep State runs the show.

In Israel, no government ever changes policy. They just use different catchphrases that poll well in focus groups for a “demographic”. Nobody ends Oslo, nobody lowers taxes, nobody lowers spending, nobody increases freedom or shrinks government. Not Labor, not Likud, not anyone else. There are the unelected people in charge, and the elected puppets. You can change the puppets. But the puppet show must go on.

So why bother trying to get Moshe Feiglin into the Prime Minister’s seat at all? Because Moshe is not just another candidate puppet. He’s a revolution. He and the Deep State are incompatible. They can’t infect him.

Besides, look at it this way. When Moshe becomes Prime Minister, he will have already won the hearts of the people. With the people behind you, no investigation can ever hurt, French Law or not. Zehut does not need this law to be passed. It won’t help. Bibi being investigated is simply a result of the people of Israel not liking him.

If anything, we should make it extremely easy to indict and evict any Prime Minister from office for any reason reason no matter how small. Like for jaywalking, or sticking gum on the bottom of a public bench. For any Prime Minister who does that, the punishment should be not impeachment, but simply a publicly televised degumming of the bench by the Prime Minister himself. After that spectacle, he’d have no power anyway.

The Catastrophic Consequences of Banning Cash

 

26 Tishrei 5778/Oct. 16, '17

I’m about to give you some very good and very sound investment advice, so take this down.

My good friend at the Esser Agoroth blog sent me this post on the new editions of cash bills to be printed by the Bank of Israel. He links to Ynet, which makes a big deal about the nice little pictures of dead people that will be on the new bills, and because they are women we are all supposed to clap about how amazing and equal the world has become.

For the record, I don’t want any person created in the image of God on any government bill. Make it dots, or stick figures, or whatever. In fact, I consider it a dishonor to have one’s face on a government cash bill. Someone who really cares about the status of women should insist that no women appear on any cash bill. To delve into this specific narrow issue for only a single sentence, since that is all I can bear of this nonsense of who is on a bill, they plan to have Leah Goldberg and Rachel the Poetess on the 20 and 100 shekel bills. These are both Jewish women and good writers who I admire, who wrote beautiful poems.

Because I admire them, the last thing I wish for them is to have their likenesses printed on inflationary government money.

Anyway, the point of my friend’s repost of the Ynet news blurb was to emphasize the last paragraph of the sneaky monstrosity and journalistic serpentine trickery. Here’s the last paragraph:

Economic officials have estimated this would be the last series of paper bills issued in Israel, as paper money is only changed once every few decades, as has been the case in this instance, and in 10-20 years payments are more likely to be made using smart phones, computers and credit cards, all but nullifying the need for cash.

This way, the article is set up to focus the attention of the masses on women being featured on government paper as the important item. The very last paragraph of the article mentions a seemingly bedieved (after the fact) consequence that most people do not read at all, that is structured to make it sound like there is no consequence to it, namely that this “happens to be” the last cash that the bank of Israel will ever print.

Well, here are the consequences of a cashless economy. Before you read my extrapolations for Israel, here’s what happened in India when only high-denomination bills were banned there. Cash is still legal, just not the highest denomination bill there. The results for people’s lives were still catastrophic.

The first thing that has to be understood about a cashless economy is that banks now control 100% of the money supply, and all of it is within the banking system at all times. The banking system is built on fractional reserve, meaning only about 10% (depending on the specific insistence of your local central bank) of your bank deposits are available in the form of physical tangible cash at any given time. The only thing that keeps banks from continually loaning out 90% of your money, from bank to bank, is the fact that theoretically, you can legally withdraw your money in the form of physical paper at any time from any ATM in the country.

The fear that any and all of your deposits theoretically can be withdrawn out of the banking system in the form of physical cash is the only thing that keeps banks from inflating the money supply continuously through infinite loans to other banks and making profits off the interest and enslaving you even further. If every single transaction is electronic, then everything remains in the centralized banking system at all times, with loan volume exploding. The money supply goes sky high and price inflation gets out of control. In the absence of real, physical cash, prices skyrocket. Real assets like gold, oil, food, real estate, skyrocket.

That’s the main, theoretical point. But let’s get down to things that are more specific and concrete.

Think about cash transactions that happen in the economy. Normal, legitimate ones, not drug deals, which these mainstream media government shills are obsessed with you focusing on. Say your kid does some babysitting for cash. Your wife does a private lesson and is paid in cash. The guys at the shuk in Machaneh Yehuda in Jerusalem sell fish or fruit or whatever for cash.

Now, all that cash is gone. All transactions are now digital and therefore recorded. That means they are all recorded by government. And government taxes every single one of those transactions. What does that mean?

It means that every transaction that used to be finalized in physical cash and which may or may not be taxed because the sellers can hide some of the cash, will now be taxed fully at the legal limit set by idiotic politicians in the knesset who can dictate how much money from each transaction they feel like taking for themselves. Let’s assume, reasonably and conservatively I think, that 30% of the cash earned by the simple Jews at the shuk is not delcared as income. That means in a cashless world, taxes rise on shuk food purchases by 30%, because now it would all be taxed. Profits fall by 30%, marginal producers are forced out, supply gets lower, demand stays equal, prices go up.

But worse than that. I’d be willing to bet that 90% of babysitting services in the entire country are undeclared. It’s 90% under the table, because it’s done mostly by kids. With no cash, it’s all taxed. Profits for babysitting plummet. Which means, by supply and demand, that the cost of babysitting services skyrocket by around the same price as the tax. More for food, more for babysitting. At least.

Further, the private tutoring economy will be destroyed. Very little of that cash is declared. It will all be taxed. Private tutors make less money for their services, marginal players exit the market, supply of private tutors shrink, prices for them go up, and the middle class will be less able to hire private tutors for their kids. Only the rich will be able to afford it. Contributing to that dreaded “inequality” that the left fears so much.

Private tutors, babysitters etc. though are just the tip of the iceberg. I only mention these examples because I am personally familiar with them. Can you think of any other legitimate services that are mostly cash transactions that will be destroyed by the lack of cash? Ah, I can, here’s another, and this has to do with a situation that Moshe Feiglin has spoken out about as the child of divorced parents. (This is public information.)

I have a friend in Katzrin in the Golan where I live who is a divorced father. Through some stupid mishap the government still thinks that he needs to pay alimony, when his own ex-wife has agreed that he owes her nothing. But since there is a computer error somewhere, his bank account is frozen. He can only eat and live if paid in physical cash.

Without cash, he would starve. Literally. He gets his salary through some convoluted path ending in cash. Without it, he’d be screwed. He would rely entirely on tzedaka to stay alive. The government controls the banks, and therefore all the bank accounts. If there’s an error, it’s your problem, not the government’s. That’s the reality.

Now think of anything in your personal lives finalized in cash that will now be taxed because it will all be recorded. All of those prices will go up because marginal providers are forced out of those markets, constricting supply and raising the price.

This will cause severe disruptions in the economy and will make those people’s lives who are just making end’s meet in Israel absolutely miserable, even more so than they are now, and add on top of this the exploding price inflation by the fact that there will be no check on factional reserve bank loans. It will be a disaster. People’s lives will be ruined.

But at least tax evasion will be a thing of the past in Israel.

הודו לה’ כי טוב, כי לעולום חסדו.

The investment advice I have? This will happen. Zehut cannot stop it. We will only stop it when Moshe Feiglin is Prime Minister. Before that happens, load up on commodities and physical assets of your choice. Provided they are still needed to make stuff, anything that humans need or want, they will rise in price dramatically when physical cash is no longer available.

 

 

 

Get Government Out of Marriage

13 Elul/Sept. 4

 

Imagine for a moment that in order to be friends with somebody, you needed government approval. Imagine that you met somebody you liked talking to, hanging out with, drinking a beer with, whatever. But you couldn’t legally be friends with him until you both applied for a government “friendship license”. A friendship license, by the way, costs 600 shekels which goes right into government coffers, not to mention a week of rat-racing around to 6 different bureaucrat offices filling out forms (so all the bureaucrats can have jobs and “stimulate the economy”), so you lose a week’s salary in the mess. Once you pay up and you have those forms, you can then apply for a “friendship license” which gives you and your friend the legal right to get a whopping 2% sales tax break at any restaurant in the country where you order together at the same table, upon presenting a proper friendship license, of course.

 

Imagine for a moment that not everyone in the country could legally apply for a friendship license with anyone he wanted. Imagine that an unmarried man and a married women, or vice versa, could not get a friendship license. It could lead to adultery, after all. Imagine that an Arab and a Jew could not get a friendship license. It’s a matter of national security, or something like that. 

Imagine that a father and son, or mother and daughter, could not get a friendship license. Family cannot be friends. Imagine that no more than two people could carry one friendship license. A group of three, for example, could not legally be considered friends, as that would be polyfriendamy. Therefore, all these people – the single man and married woman; the Arab and Jew; the father and son or mother and daughter, the group of three or more – all of them could not legally be friends and therefore they all had to pay that extra 2% in sales tax at restaurants.

Imagine for a moment that a “national discussion” starts taking place, the kind that enlightened media and intellectual elite like to call “a real meaningful debate” and other linguistic smokescreen nonsense. Shouldn’t an Arab and Jew have the legal right to be friends? Why can’t a married man and unmarried woman be recognized by Big Brother as friends? Shouldn’t three people have the right to be friends?

“Friendship equality for all!” the liberals would say.

“Friendship is a sacred human institution that has been around for thousands of years! Family cannot be friends! What sacrilege!” the conservatives would say.

Meanwhile, the libertarian looks around and sees the utter insanity of the whole situation. Here it is in one sentence:

The government, looking for a way to extract more money out of private people, baits them with the possibility of a 2% tax break, which is essentially a promise to steal slightly less from them, if they pay 600 shekels and run around for a week begging for a license from a massive and totally unnecessary bureaucracy funded by millions of shekels in tax money for a relationship that is essentially private and has nothing to do with the government anyway, and instead of people repudiating these petty friendship licenses and ignoring them, they start fighting with each other about who has the right to a government license with catchphrases like “the right to be friends” and “friendship equality” and “the sanctity of friendship,” while in the meantime both sides are being stolen from in order to fund the bloated bureaucracy that is running the friendship license boondoggle so the government comes out of this way in the black with all the license fees and taxes and levies to fund the system. 

Instead of uniting against the common thief and calling an end to friendship licenses and just lower sales taxes at restaurants for everyone by the measly 2% so we can stop having this argument and being at each other’s throats, we fight with each other about who gets to have the licenses and who doesn’t.

We are being hoodwinked. No matter what the government says, the government does not define marriage, nor can it, not any more than it can define friendship. All it can do is promise to steal from us less if we engage in whatever relationship The Man endorses.

But in Israel the situation is even more ludicrous. In Israel, the State taxes you more if you get married because single parents get tax benefits. So you have people in Israel arguing with each other about who can “legally get married” and who “cannot get married” essentially fighting each other not over who gets a tax break, but rather who gets the merit of being taxed more by the government, in exchange for precious, precious State recognition. State sanction to “marriage” is so important to people that no one can see how Uncle Shmuel is simply playing both sides against each other and collecting from both as we duke it out.

This is why there should be no government marriage at all. Government-sanctioned marriage should be illegal. Who has the right to visit who in the hospital and who can inherit and who can have power of attorney and who can file a joint tax return should all be handled by private contracts between people on their own terms, and these contracts can be enforced through courts. Problem solved. 

Someone might say “Marriage has been around for thousands of years! How can it be outlawed?” Marriage has been around for thousands of years. Just as friendship has. If there were friendship licenses, those should be abolished as well, as their only purpose would be to promise us to steal a penny less in return for us funding a gigantic friendship government bureaucracy. The house always wins. 

It seems to me the institution of friendship, whatever that is, survives wonderfully without government recognition and intervention. So will the institution of marriage, whatever that is. For thousands more years to boot. -- 

 

Appoint A King Over Yourselves? Not so Fast!

 

2 Elul/ August 24, 2017 

The Role of Government in Israel: Almost Nothing, or Absolutely Nothing?

“You shall surely place a king upon yourselves, one that Hashem your God has chosen…”

~Deuteronomy 17:15

We are told in this week’s Parasha that we are required to place a king upon ourselves. From here it is assumed that the Torah supports the idea of monarchy. It’s not that simple.

There are two main tanaitic positions regarding this Pasuk. The more familiar one originates from the Tanah Rebbi Yehuda Bar Ilai. He holds that having a monarch is a positive mitzva. If so, what are the monarch’s responsibilities?

According to the Rambam, Hilchos Melachim 4:10, the only areas of jurisdiction he has are defense and courts. Nothing else.

Not education, not welfare, not culture, not price controls, not central banking. In libertarian terminology, we would call this the minarchist position, meaning absolute minimum government.

But there is another position, that of the Yerushalmi Rabanan. Says Midrash Rabba Shoftim:

Say the Rabanan: Said the Holy One Blessed Be He: In this world you requested kings and kings from Israel rose up and killed you by the sword. Saul killed them at Mount Gilboa…Ahab stopped the rain…and Zedekiah destroyed the Temple.

“When Israel saw what happened to them during the reign of their kings, they all started screaming: We do not want a king from Israel! We want our original King! (Isaiah 33) For God is our Judge and our Legislator. God is our King and our Savior!

“Said the Holy one Blessed Be He to them: By your lives! This I will do!

“As it says (Zechariah 14) ‘And God will be King over all the Earth etc.’”

The Rishonim Abarbanel and Ibn Ezra agree with this second position. Says Ibn Ezra:

A king is only an option. Only a prophet or the Urim and Tumim may choose one. The people may not elect one themselves.”

So much for democracy.

Abarbanel says explicitly that the minarchist position is incorrect and that the pre-Monarchic regime of the Shoftim was preferable. Essentially, appointing a king was therefore an option, but a mistaken one.

Let’s not forget that this pasuk about a king has been abused by evil people like Rav Shlomo Aviner who defended the expulsion of Jews from their homes on the grounds that the government is like a King and must be obeyed.

The most important thing though is that the machlokes in Halacha on government’s role is between absolute minimum government as per the Rambam (courts and defense only) and no government at all, as per the Ibn Ezra and Abarbanel.

Whichever side you fall on, there is no legitimacy to the government doing anything else whatsoever.

 

Neo Nazis Or Communists? Take Your Pick!

 

28 Av/August 20, '17

Politics are usually very cheap, but in America they are now on a fire sale. Suddenly Virginia has seen bona fide neo Nazis marching in the streets, countered by bona fide cultural Marxists hellbent on taxpayer-funded transgender bathrooms in every American home much like every house in Israel must have a bomb shelter.

Of course, as Jews, we abhor neo Nazis and a dark feeling of dread wells in our kishkas when we see them marching anywhere. But sadly, our choice is between the ideological descendants of Nazis and Communists, the #1 and #2 biggest murderers of Jews since Rome. Oy vey.

There is something more disturbing going on in America now than an admittedly alarming neo Nazi rally. The politicization of nearly every single aspect of American life from race to marriage and now even to your own gender identity has provided high-octane fuel to both the latent American neo Nazi movement and the budding American Communist movement headed by “Antifa”, whatever that means.

Clashes like this only mean one thing. Government has gotten way too powerful. Rallies like these don’t happen in countries with smaller governments. Liberty and free markets calm people down. Power and force keys them up and makes them lose their heads and moral compasses.

So where do Israel, Zehut, and the Jewish People come in? I have some bad news and some good news. The bad news is that American politics will only get worse from here. We’ll see more of these rallies from both sides.

The good news is that we are a nation that dwells alone, and the purpose of our national existence is to spread liberty to the entire human race by example. It was for this Divine mission that we left Egypt. Right now, the biggest and best chance to gain real ground in this mission is Zehut. We are the only ones in Israel who stand for liberty. That makes Zehut the best hope not only for Jews, but for free human beings everywhere.

Unfortunately, American politics will continue to descend into chaos. So if you want to vote for something real, I ask you to join us in Zehut International and vote in our primaries on December 17.

 

My Story: Why I Will Bring the Most Votes to Zehut

August 20, 2017 

 

https://thejewishlibertarian.com/2017/08/20/my-story-why-i-will-bring-the-most-votes-to-zehut/

 

There are about 300 of you, Zehut International members, last I checked. There are 3 of us campaigning for your vote for slot #10 on the Zehut Knesset list.

I’ve been in contact with Rav Spitz and David Sidman. They are both great candidates. There really isn’t much we disagree on substantively. So why vote for me?

When I went to the meeting at Zehut headquarters in Tel Aviv for all our Knesset candidates, we introduced ourselves, naturally. Most of us spoke briefly about our qualifications, what we want to do in the Knesset, what we want to accomplish and why, our backgrounds and such.

When we were all finished with our schpiels, Shmuel Sackett got up and said the following (paraphrasing). “I don’t care what your background is or what degrees you have or what your qualifications are. The only thing I want to know is this: How many votes can you bring to Zehut?”

That, of course, is the essential question.

Let’s put this starkly. Besides G-d, Zehut is Israel’s last hope. I firmly believe that. Because I have faith in G-d, I also firmly believe Zehut will succeed, because we have to. At the same time, we have to elect people who will bring the most votes possible to our party in order to succeed. It’s that dialectic between reliance on G-d and hishtadlus, making a real effort and doing our part.

I will bring the most votes to Zehut for two reasons, both of which play off the other. First, I have an insatiable need to tell the truth. I cannot stop myself. No matter how ugly the truth sounds or how crazy it makes me look or how much I know people do not want to hear it initially. I can’t even sugarcoat it in the most superficial way to make it sound better. When I try to dress the truth up and blunt the sharpness of my words to make them sound more pleasant to the political ear, it just doesn’t feel right and it sounds awkward coming off my tongue. I feel like it’s someone else talking when I try.

I can’t even use nice words to convince you to vote for me!

Second, I can’t stand politicians. I just cannot play their game. Go through the actual content of what any of them (except Moshe Feiglin) say, Right or Left, very carefully, and you’ll realize there is no substance to any of it. The same generalities over and over, spoken so you’ll feel nice and gooey and apply whatever beliefs you may have to the extremely loose and imprecise language they use. Whichever empty shell of a man is best at saying nothing but making you feel that your values are somehow contained within the absolute vacuum of nothingness he spouts off, is the man that wins and runs the country.

Benjamin Netanyahu is the absolute best at doing this. He’s Prime Minister, but nobody likes him.

I am the absolute antithesis of this. A vote for me means a vote for dropping an antipolitical bomb right into the heart of the Knesset.

Now, I fully understand that a man like me cannot lead Zehut. I’m too one-dimensional for that job. I should not be permitted on the front lines and will never vie for that position, because I understand it’s not for me. That’s Moshe’s job.

But Zehut needs a man like me to make headlines, to get up in the middle of the Knesset and say straight out with an acid tongue how much I disdain the place and the politicians in it. How everything they do, almost without exception, just makes all of our lives worse, desecrates the Name of God and embarrasses the Jewish People globally. I say what all of us think and feel but don’t want to say out loud because for many it causes despair. Not for me. It gives me hope, and it will rub off on voters.

The very first thing I will do in my inaugural speech as a Knesset Member is paint a big fat target on myself and tell the MKs that I am not a “Chaver Knesset“, meaning Knesset Member or literally “Friend of the Knesset.” Rather, I am an Enemy of Knesset and I am here to stop them from abusing the Jewish People.

I won’t even be addressing other MKs whenever I speak (excluding Zehut MKs of course). I will be talking directly to the Jewish People, the ones producing value in the economy, off whose work politicians live, so we can eat and live and survive. The victims of the political class and bureaucracy who get taxed and regulated and tazered at the Temple Mount for praying to HaKadosh Baruch Hu. The Jewish People who get bombed and killed by Arabs because the politicians are too cowardly to cut a deal with the Arabs to leave our land and finally end the war because it is the war that gives the politicians the perpetual power they love so much.

The politicians that take our children into Gaza and Lebanon to fight and die with no strategic goals whatsoever, using our kids as cannon fodder for their own political power so they can give sickening stump speeches taking advantage of our nationhood screaming Am Yisrael Chai while they have absolutely no plan to actually win anything. It drives me out…of…my…mind.

The solutions are not complicated. You just need to implement them. For example, say a rocket falls on Ashkelon from Gaza and hits a house. Simply pinpoint the exact area the rocket came from, expel the people living there within an X-mile radius, seize all their assets, and offer the property and assets to the victims of the rocket attack to do whatever they want with it. Simple criminal-victim restitution practiced everywhere.

My point is this. I do not believe there is much of a substantive difference between myself and my co-runners, at least not from what I can tell. Perhaps I’m wrong and of course I’ll let Rav Bentzi and David speak for themselves. The difference between us, I believe, is a matter of style.

I am shock value. Am Yisrael is drowning in a swamp of government. We need to get their votes, and in order to do so we need to get their attention. You don’t get a drowning people’s attention by lightly tapping them on the back as they’re sinking. You grab them, pull them, scream, and wake them up before they sink.

Why will my style get the most votes? Because at bottom, everyone who is not a politician or a bureaucrat in Israel, does disdain the Knesset and the government as a whole, just like me. I just have the ability, or perhaps handicap, of being absolutely unable to hide it.

Whenever Israelis speak of the place they roll their eyes at it. They’re embarrassed by it. I remember this from as far back as when I was a kid in sleep-away summer camp. The camp had Israelis come for the summer to introduce kids to Israel and its culture. One of them, I distinctly remember, and this was back in 2000 and he was a left-winger, was talking about the Knesset.

“You come out of that place embarrassed to be Jewish,” he said.

Yes. Israelis do feel this way. It’s a real thing. I will tap into that reality and give the people some release. I’m the one who is telling them that these feelings, these true negative feelings they have towards this place, are good. They’re OK. They’re correct. They can indulge in them. It means they’re normal.

I won’t be leading Zehut. I will be adding hot sauce to the party. Zehut needs its soft-spoken candidates for sure, but it also needs a flavor of righteous anger so that frustrated Israelis can look at Zehut and say, “There’s a party that has just had enough!” Nobody does that better than me.

What will keep my head straight? What ensures that I won’t become a politician myself? Because they’ll have nothing over me, nothing on me, no leverage. I won’t be taking a salary, I’ll drive my own car that I bought with my own money, and I won’t be seeking any special positions, committees, or anything. I don’t want any of that. I just want to talk to the Jewish People and tell them I’m on your side. I’m not taking any of your money. I am fighting for you. Now get up and fight with me.

 

The Beautiful Thing About the Bitcoin Split

August 1, 2017

 This article originally appeared on The Jewish Libertarian 

Bitcoin split into two different currencies today. I don’t really understand why except vaguely something about the software being too overloaded and needing to be either upgraded or split to lighten the transaction burden on the network. Or something like that.

There was something amazing about the bitcoin split that isn’t being reported by anyone. That is, no government was involved in the decision to split the currency into two. There were no squabbles, no politicking, no building coalitions, nobody forcing anything on anybody. The guys who hold up the bitcoin network, they simply came to an amicable decision to split up, and social justice warriors were not even involved.

And what happened to the bitcoin price? Nothing much at all. It was fine. The people who use it are fine. The people who buy it and sell it are fine. Everything is fine.

Whenever I suggest privatizing something – roads, courts, airport security, garbage disposal, the water supply, etc. – I am invariably asked how the private sector could possibly handle X. Well, this is how the private sector would handle a money dispute. Amicably, cleanly, efficiently, and quietly. So we can all live our own lives.

Beyond all the thing things I want to privatize, first and foremost and my utmost priority, is to privatize money creation. Let the government have the shekel if they want. Manage it however they want. Print it, don’t print it, I don’t care. Just let the private sector produce its own money and allow people to use whatever money to pay their taxes at market value.

Why is this my top priority? Because the Israeli government is the source of 99% of all problems in Israel. From the Temple Mount and the government-funded police who beat and tazer defenseless Jews on Tisha B’Av to skyrocketing real estate prices to the war with the Arabs and Oslo, it’s all their fault. All of it.

Government power needs to hacked away and the single greatest power – the source of all the other powers the Israeli government has is the ability to print money that we are all forced to use. The monetary monopoly is the seat of all of its power. Break the State’s monopoly on money, and you have hit the weak spot at the center of the Death Star. You break the State’s biggest power monopoly by far. Once money is privatized, the State can no longer inflate with impunity because the shekel would deteriorate fast. The government in an environment with monetary competitors, must either shrink fast or go bankrupt even faster.

How do you privatize money? Just allow taxes to be paid in any currency at market value, and allow business to create money. Gold, silver, copper, stocks, bonds, dollars, euros, bitcoin, ethereum, whatever. It’s all up to the market whether to accept a currency or not.

How would the private sector handle money creation and money squabbles? The answer: very simply, as we just saw with bitcoin.

Imagine if there was a political effort to split the dollar or shekel into two currencies. Could you imagine the fighting that would be involved? All the worthless news we’d have to read, all the voodoo econometricians babbling about GDP and XYZ and 123 and using words that make us all feel dumb and unqualified to have an opinion?

But bitcoin split into two in a mutually agreed upon divorce by the developers. No violence, no public bickering, no social justice warriors, nobody blabbing on about how the poor or the rich or the middle class would be hurt by the split or the non split or anything. That’s how the private sector would handle money creation and monetary disputes. With peace and quiet.

With private competition against the shekel, inflation would end. People’s savings would increase in value. Real estate prices would plummet. The war with the Arabs would have to be ended for lack of money to keep it going. If you believe that’s a bad thing, you probably have a PhD in macroeconomics, Rachmana Litzlan. (Yes, many PhD economists actually believe war – AKA the mass destruction of goods and services and people – is actually good for the economy. It isn’t.)

Don’t Improve the Israeli Government — Just Shrink It

This post originally appeared on the Times of Israel website

JULY 27, '17

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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