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Prof. Manuel Trachtenberg
Photo: Noam Moskovich
Meet Prof. Trachtenberg, PM's response to protests
Netanyahu appoints his former economic advisor as head of government's 'social team'. Ynet learns Trachtenberg has spoken in favor of raising corporate tax, reducing fuel tax and limiting market forces – despite being strong supporter of free market
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Sunday that the team of ministers appointed to negotiate with the social protest leaders will be headed by his former economic advisor, Professor Manuel Trachtenberg.

 

Ynet has learned that Trachtenberg is in favor of raising the corporate tax, which has been in a steady decline since Netanyahu took office in 2009. He made the remark in a closed meeting with senior Treasury officials last week.

 

In the same meeting, he spoke of the need to reduce the tax burden on the low-income population by reducing the fuel tax and the water and electricity rates.

 

According to Treasury sources, Trachtenberg complained during the meeting that while the income tax and corporate tax were gradually dropping, the deficit created in the State's income taxes was being covered by raising the indirect tax imposed on consumer goods.

 

The professor stated that value-added tax was not the only indirect tax, and that the share of electricity and water rates must be balanced. He also claimed that when global oil prices fall, the government must reduce the fuel tax accordingly in order to absorb the price hikes. Such a move, he said, could stabilize the Israeli economy's inflation rate.

 

Expert in technological innovations

Trachtenberg, 61, chairs the Higher Education Council's Planning and Budgeting Committee. From 2006 to 2009 he served as head of the National Economic Council at the Prime Minister's Office – the body advising the prime minister on economic policies.

 

In April 2009, he resigned following Netanyahu's decision to appoint his personal advisor, Uri Yogev, for the new role of chairman of the National Economic Council's advisory committee. Shortly afterward, Trachtenberg was appointed chairman of the Planning and Budgeting Committee by Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar.

 

Trachtenberg, who has a PhD in economics from Harvard University, specializes in technological innovations and is considered a strong supporter of the free market and reducing bureaucratic barriers.

 

Nonetheless, he has spoken many times about the need to limit the market forces in order to prevent the creation of cartels undermining free competition.

 

 

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