On al Manar TV...
This was picked up by Al Akhbar today. Former Finance Minister (but most importantly, economist, political scholar, and a few other things) Georges Corm says that Opposition groups have several topics they can talk about. To name but a few:
1- The “Daman” issue (social security) and how it depletes the State’s budget uselessly. Corm says that the Opposition groups should look at the root of the crisis in the 2000 government decision to cut back significantly subscriptions to the social scheme.
2- The alleged costs inflicted on the Lebanese economy because of the presence of demonstrators in downtown. By asking where does Finance Minister Azour gets his numbers from (and showing that 75 million dollars of losses is just logically impossible because all the business that goes on in DT does not amount to anything close to that number…), Corm incites the Opposition groups to try to track down these figures.
3- And that’s the best one: How come people buy stories of ‘economic disaster’ and ‘million digits worth of losses’ when our balance of payment is positive, exports have risen, our real estate sector is strong (land price going up too), etc. In short nobody questions the numbers that the parties in power give.
4- Corm demystifies the whole ‘International aid will help us get rid of our debt’ paradigm. First of all, even if international aid can help, it will be giving at the top most 2 billion dollars. The Debt is of 45… Corm also mentioned that Jordan and Egypt, with all their ass-licking-the-West strategies got peanuts in terms of debt relief.
PS: Of course (especially for 4) this was not the exact ‘Cormian’ phrasing (with all my respect for him I present my apologies). But yet I would tend to think that he may have phrased it this way in a more informal setting…