Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Why Should Israeli Taxpayers Bailout Billionaires?

So all the analysts are in great moods as Israel joined the rest of the world in bailing out troubled companies.

According to the "A further NIS 5b. will be used to set up a number of investment funds in partnership with the pension institutions (provident funds, pension funds and managers' insurance providers) for the provision of non-bank credit and to deal with the refinancing of bonds. The establishment of the private investment funds will be on the basis of tenders. Out of the NIS 5b., NIS 3b. will be allocated with immediate effect and NIS 2b. in five months time.
"The move is designed to support holders of corporate bonds when the bonds mature and to help assure companies' ability to meet their commitments," said Goshen.
"The investment funds will either
refinance corporate bonds and spread the payments out, or inject capital directly into troubled companies operating in Israel to help them through the crisis."

Great. So the taxpayers are getting left bailing out lousy portfolio managers who bought corporate bonds that had little in the way of assets to back up the bond issue. Why do these managers keep their jobs? After all, if they did such a poor job in managing pension money to the extant that they need a safety net to protect soon to be pensioners, why do they keep on working? Also, we have to bail out billionaire 'Tycoons' like Lev Leviev and Yitzchak Teshuva who made highly leveraged real estate investments all over the world at the height of the bubble. Why bail them out? How much do you want to bet that they will continue to make hi risk investments knowing that if the investment crashes, the Israeli government will bail them out.

So you may ask, " why is this any different than bailing out the US auto industry?" Not that I like that either but at least I understand the case about the huge job loss that would follow if the Big 3 automakers went under. What job loss would be created in Israel if one of the tycoons went bankrupt? How many local Israeli's is Teshuva employing in his Las Vegas hotel/casino? They lost hundreds of millions of dollars investing out of Israel, employing no Israeli's and we still have to bail them out?

This is a scandal and it's a shame no one is talking about it.

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