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Monday, June 15, 2009

Knesset Priorities: My Car or Your Kid

West Bank Mama has a "feminist agenda!" Just kidding, WBM....it's really a parental agenda. It's a societal agenda. It's a legal-from-the-Supreme-Court-of-the-Country agenda....

It is an agenda that says our children and their welfare are important. They are more important than your car, than your salary, than your commute or just about anything else you can think of.

Go read her post here .

Read her link to the Jerusalem Post.

Google it.

Then you will find out just how misogynistic our lawmakers really are. First, they make obscene salaries-- over 30,000 NIS per month (top salaries in hi-tech aren't this fat). So they have a "What, me worry?" attitude about child care. First, their wives probably don't have to work for a living, and second, they can afford the toniest child care in town, including nannies, on that salary.

But by golly, they have their car lease deductions!

Every working male in Israel who leases a car as part of his salary package gets to deduct the cost of that car from his taxes as a 'work-related expense.'

Every working woman and mother in Israel does also. But let's face it--the vast majority of the management geeks driving the lease cars as part of their bonus package are men.

But no mother is permitted to deduct the cost of day care. Go figure.

Yes, I know someone will say, "but fathers can't deduct it either." No s***t, Sherlock--but on this planet, when the crunch over who-is-going-to-take-care-of-the-kids hits, its always the women who cut back, work part time, or give up a career (or just job seniority) to be there for their kids.

Well, it makes sense, someone will venture, after all, the father makes more money/has more invested in a career/needs to support his family....yadayadayada...all the usual trite excuses....I won't, but some have done books on how these excuses are self-perpetuating justifications for paying women less, educating women less, and generally making them subservient financially and emotionally to men by insisting that the societal norm is that "men need to make more money." But that's off-topic just a bit....

If you don't have a car, you can still get to work. People do it all over the world. I'm from California, where public transporation is a joke, and a car is a necessity. Guess what--your lease car is NOT tax deductible for commuting-to-work. It may not be as convenient as your very own car, surely, but public transportation does exist in this country. If you absolutely need to get to work, you will buy or lease a car in any event, regardless of the tax breaks or burdens.

But children can't be garaged during the day. Children need adult supervision. Children need attention and affection and intellectual stimulation and play time. Children, in short, need day care, which is the single biggest expense for most working couples. Lets get real, here -- day care often costs more than renting a car.

And the frosting on the cake? The High Court has already ruled on this issue--and ordered that the cost of child care be a tax deductible work-related expense.

So why would our Beloved Members of the Knesset give working men a tax break for their cars but not working mothers a tax break for their children's daycare?

Several ideas suggest themselves:

(1) They're incredibly stupid and simply don't get it;

(2) They're smart enough to get it but just don't care;

(3) To the average male mind, cars are more important than other people's children (ok, I admit it, I'm being a snarky sexist here myself);

(4) Greed. It's just TOO big a tax bite to give working moms this kind of break;

(5) Politics. Big Business has a big voice in the Knesset--working mothers don't. Big Business wants to hang on to benefits for upper management like tax breaks for the leased car; working moms who desperately need some relief have no one to stand up for them;

(6) All of the above.

Here is yet another screaming reason for political reform and direct representation. I would call, telegram, email and demonstrate in front of my representative's office--except that I don't have one. A representative, that is.

I think Bibi's plate is full at the moment and tax deductible child care probably isn't at the top of his list of priorities right now.


Anonymous Reb Barry said...

Actually, what WBM says about cars contradicts what the accountants tell me. They told me that cars are now fully taxed, so there is really no benefit any more to getting your car through the company. Maybe her accountant is more creative than mine...or not as up on recent tax laws.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009 at 12:43:00 PM GMT+3  
Anonymous westbankmama said...

A few points. One, hi-tech salaries for the upper mangagement can get as high as the 30,000 a month - and I personally don't think that the MK's make an obscene amount of money. The good ones really work very hard. Two, I think that the MK's are afraid of the overall cost to the government if every woman can take the tax break (although you need to make a lot of money in order to pay taxes at all - if you have children under the age of 18 at home). I don't think that it is a "sexist" thing - it is an economic thing. Of course I think that they need to cut back in other places to cover the shortfall - because women deserve this tax break.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009 at 6:23:00 PM GMT+3  
Blogger aliyah06 said...

Reb Barry--I haven't talked to an accountant but we have a number of friends who are still taking tax breaks on their lease cars...maybe your accountant is more up to date and our friends are not?

WBM--I am a devoted follower of the semi-annual salary survey that Writepoint puts out. I have seen no one making 30,000 NIS/month (maybe they didn't say--it's self-reporting) and top salaries ran 25,000-28,000 MIS/month, and there were very, very few of them.

I don't think what the MKs do, however hard "some of them" work, is worth 30,000+ NIS/month. They make their own hours, and are largely unresponsive to the electorate and appear to devote the bulk of their energies to staying in office rather than making a substantive difference in our lives.

If every woman did take the tax break, it would be only while her children are under age 5, no? Whereas if the tax break for cars exists, it exists for the working life of the driver? So the overall cost of car exemptions seems to be much higher than that of child care costs.

I see sexism in it because (again, assuming the car tax break still exists) it hits women's ability to work full time, or far away, while keeping intact a man's ability to commute to his choice of work place. Of course it is economic in effect but there is a disparate effect on the genders.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009 at 7:38:00 AM GMT+3  

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