Posted by: r.m. | April 26, 2012

Lebanon: taking from the public good to pay for… !?

All too often we hear this lament from decision-makers: if only we had the money!

I heard it in the US when liberals and conservatives and congressmen and women would knock down a project because of ‘lack of funds.’

I have heard it from colleagues who long for a certain project — such as, hey, universal health care — but don’t advocate for it because, oh well, the governmet of x country does not have the funds.

and of course, I have heard it in Lebanon — where, the oft-heard cry is: our government is in debt! (like the US, like so many in Europe, etc).  We are poor and our government is in debt.

To all I replied the same: total crap! There is money: it is just mis-spent or not gathered. Either a failure to have a wise, progressive tax policy (such as the one that brilliant marxist Charbel Nahhas had suggested), or a failure to stem financial inefficiencies.. or the amazing success at taking from the poor and giving to the rich and then telling the poor, sorry, no more money (example: bread subsidies)

Nasawiya, a beauitful “collective of feminists working on gender justice in Lebanon,” just published this powerful figure.  (Kudos to Nadine Moawad for her work in compiling this info from the 2012 National Budget) – Here is a link to Nasawiya’s website:

Translation of the Arab text: The Lebanese taxpayer pays more than 28 Billion Lebanese Lira  — i.e. more than $18 million– as salaries to *former* members of parliament!

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