Jeffrey Levine
Blogger, Entrepreneur, and Philanthropist

Needed: A COVID-19 economic response to help the people

Is there anybody Home? This is a strange question to ask. Of course, we are Home.

By this question, I meant to ask is Big Government, Big Business looking after the people?

Lots of promises, very hard to implement and lots of people suffering from businesses closed, and people out of work.

I was at a demonstration Friday last week outside the Prime Ministers house in Jerusalem. The video featured here where people are crying out for the Government to help. Taking on Debt is not a solution (especially at say 5% interest). I confess that I was on the way to our local Supermarket and was not planning on attending. But, once there I empathized with the pain and cry for help.

I will not ramble on too much and keep the message simple. Rambling is in the second part of this blog.

So, what Problems need to be urgently addressed?

  1. Government, Income Tax, National Insurance, Banks, and Insurance Companies have been caught with their pants down. Their Digital experience is lacking, their physical response and process of answering phones and assisting people are very below par. There is an inadequate system for freezing payments, granting new low-interest loans or grants, etc. In this regard, there needs to a greater will by Government and Big Business to help speed up the process
  2. Although Bank of Israel, has announced an easing of Borrowing requirements for Mortgages (Mashkanta) this has not translated to lower interest rates. What is needed is a reduction of Interest Rates on Mashkanta and re-mortgage for any Purpose – my suggestion is:

2% Interest up to 25% LTV (Loan to Value)

3% Interest from 25% to 50% LTV

Limit – 2 properties

This would relieve monthly stress, give cashflow to the economic system, and lower the Bank’s risk as people have more Disposable Income. (and convert unsecured, higher-interest debt to lower Interest Rate to a secured debt for the Banking system).

And of course, there needs to be a greater choice (competition) and freedom in the moving of Mortgages, just like we see in the changing of mobile operators, Same, need is required for Heath Funds, Life and Health insurance Policies. Currently, Banks have their cake and they eat it.

  1. Crowd Sourcing – I came across an organization called Crowd Action led by MK Meirav Cohen which “reduces the asymmetry between the individual consumer and large corporations, by organizing wronged consumers and providing them cutting-edge tools. We collect, in real-time, millions of daily mentions in social networks, identify repeated complaints, and connect the complainants to professionals in order to provide a solution to their complaints”. Sounds very noble.

I would add that Big tech seems to be getting bigger, more powerful, and richer during Covid-19. So, where does this leave us? How are we to cope in the Post Covid19 World? 

Over the last month, I have toyed with a lot of these thoughts to explore different ideas about how this crisis is changing the world and how we need to adapt, what government and business need to. And how people need to react and change?

We are living in a changing world, even before Covid-19, but the crises has shown how fragile our society is. From my experience as a CFO, I have gained much insight into different companies and industries. For example, we had to assess risk, have a disaster recovery plan in place in our business. We can now see that both Businesses and Governments were caught with their pants down.

The crises has now shown that the cupboard is empty,  the Health System was unprepared for this, whole Industries shut down like tourism, unemployment running at 20% or more. Essentially, we have an economic and social disaster.

We have a range of false news by reputable Newspapers and Companies trying to put different spins on the situation. In essence, Mankind has been over arrogant. We think we can control the world. We are still plagued by illness such as cancer for which we have no real cure, poverty is rampant, not to mention war. The imbalance between rich and poor growing.

We have a situation, where many peoples’ livelihood has been shut down, the way the business is done is changing, and the need for businesses to go digital, online. The retail shops, restaurants, and malls are closed, Bankruptcies even with a bailout are a big reality as many businesses are just not sustainable, and with no or lower rents, Property Valuations are likely to crash, with repossessions. Many people and businesses have not yet recovered from to 2008 crises.

While there are many challenges that are resulting in the need for quicker adaption of Tech, be in Digitial Health, Digital Marketplace, Fintech, Edtech there is a fire raging, The Economic fallout is bigger than the Covid 19 threat.

  1. A call for a people Re-think

The Covid19 crisis requires a major re-think. I am appealing for people to share their experience and expertise, looking for people who are driven to make a positive contribution to this important undertaking. There is no Ego involved here, Just a call to help society. As Rabbi Nachman taught – if you see a problem, then then this is your duty or calling to fix it.

These could cover:

  1. Learn from the Past especially the 1929 Depression
  2. Government Assistance – is this effective?
  3. Protect our Money, Protect our Investment
  4. Protect our Income
  5. Protect our businesses
  6. Make money from these volatile Markets i.e when is the best time to re-invest in the Market
  7. Asset Diversification
  8. Day Trading – CFD / FX Trading Tips on how to trade
  9. Real Estate – where is this going?
  10. 4th Industrial Revolution – Ai , Machine Learning – focus on Edtech
  11. Tech for Good
  12. Tools for Retraining. New Career Skills -Digital Transformation
  13. Open an online, Digital shop (and Online Accounting – Advert – see www.persofi.com)
  14. Marketing – Finding Customers in the Digital World (Include Delivery solutions)
  15. Helping start-ups succeed
  16. Non-Profits and helping the weaker elements of Society
  17. Education – a New paradigm for learning
  18. Emotional Wellbeing
  19. Role of Government
  20. Other ???

I encourage all those concerned and what to contribute to share ideas, publish blogs, post on FaceBook, or connect to me via email Jeffrey@persofi.com

About the Author
Jeffrey is a Blogger, Entrepreneur, and Philanthropist (we can only dream) living in Jerusalem. He is a young grandfather has five kids and four grandchildren. Jeffrey provides freelance CFO and Accounting services through www.persofi.com He is looking to spread the message of Ahavat Yisrael and Jewish Unity through the music and stories through www.souldoctorstories.com and blogging.
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