Monday, April 10, 2006
With these pensioners from the great 1979 movie Going in Style:
The movie is about a bunch of retired guys fed up with sitting on a bench all day who decide to stick up a bank.
The Pensioners Party, on the other hand, appears to be about a bunch of retired guys fed up with sitting on a bench all day who decide to go to the Knesset and bicker over portfolios and which demographics they wish to take from and which they plan to give to:
So you can see, any similarity between the two groups of old men is purely superficial.
Yet, while the seven new MKs presented a united front, reiterating the party's pledge to care for the country's elderly and other disadvantaged sectors, competing political ambitions have already begun to emerge. Sharoni announced that he intended to compete against Ya'acov Ben-Yizri, the party's No. 2, for the second ministry the party expects to get in return for joining the coalition.
"[Party chairman] Rafi Eitan will be the minister for pensioners' affairs, and I will compete for the second portfolio," Sharoni told The Jerusalem Post.
Speaking to an audience of supporters and reporters, Eitan outlined the main demands his party would make during negotiations, including the restoration of a 1.5 percent cut in social security payments, an increase in National Insurance Institute pensions, a reduction in co-payments for medicine and an increase in the basic pension payment from 14.5% of the average salary to as much as 20%.
Ben-Yizri similarly reiterated the party's commitment to higher pension budgets and subsidized medications and underscored its commitment to other sectors of the population, including students, single mothers and the disabled.
I'm not trying to bash the Pensioners Party out of a belief that old men should suffer in poverty. But with any more publicity and policy like what I'm seeing here, I suspect the Party's "cool" support among Tel Aviv's young, hip population will evaporate pretty quickly, as soon as they start calculating the difference between 14.5% and 20% of their paychecks.