Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Likud Party's New Economic Frontman: Shlomo Maoz

Sounds like a major economic interventionist and hater. Haaretz reports:
Zehavit Cohen, chairwoman of the Apax Partners Israel investment fund, probably flinched this weekend. The latest star acquisition by Likud, Shlomo Maoz, is an influential economist who's supposed to plan an economic platform for the united Likud-Beiteinu party, on whose list he will run in the upcoming Knesset elections.

Why should Cohen care? Because Maoz has in the past advocated dismantling Tnuva, the biggest dairy and fresh-foods company in Israel, in which Apax is heavily invested. That's why.

Executives at Super-Sol may also be losing some hair. The famously plain-spoken Maoz has said, and said again, that in his opinion they should give back the puffed-up salaries they took from Israel's biggest retail chain over the years while simultaneously lending a shoulder to increasing the cost of living for everyone else.

On the other hand, Israel's drivers should curb their enthusiasm. Earlier this year Maoz opposed lowering gasoline prices by reducing the tax on crude, saying it would cost the the state much-needed revenues. And Israelis parents had better get used to hearing themselves blamed for the spiking cost of housing. Maoz has said they bear responsibility for the phenomenon because they seem unable to tell their little snowflakes that no, they wont help pay their inflated mortgages.

As for investors in the market, Maoz's messages are a tad bemusing. He doesn't shy away from making predictions. Moments before the 2008 crisis struck the United States, he said the country was a highly attractive investment opportunity. (It wasn’t.) Later he predicted good years to come, which haven't. Nor did the benchmark Tel Aviv-25 index ever cross 1,400 points on the upside, which he predicted at the end of 2011.

Maoz, once the chief economist at the Excellence-Nessuah investment bank, does talk a lot. But he wasn't recruited to Likud because of the content of his conversation. His attraction evidently lies elsewhere.

Over the years he's said things on both the right and left of economics. There's been only one area where his bent has been crystal-clear. Maoz carries high the flag of ethnic discrimination by Ashkenazim against Jews of Middle Eastern or North African origin – known as Mizrahim -- and against the low-income peripheral areas of Israel.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like he has all the makings of a mainstream economist -- crazy interventionist ideas to control prices, a champion for the state, clueless about human action, attacks the symptoms instead of understanding the problem and most of all he is incapable of forecasting even a month out. He'll fit right in! LOL