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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 4/1/13

The Extortion and Blackmail of Egypt by the IMF

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Egypt topped the headline news in Sunday's New York Times with a story by David D. Kirkpatrick entitled, "SHORT OF MONEY, EGYPT SEES CRISIS ON FUEL AND FOOD, Economic Fears Deepen, Government Is Pressed to Increase Taxes and Cut Subsidies".

Kirkpatrick opens his piece with, "A fuel shortage has helped send food prices soaring. Electricity is blacking out even before the summer. And gas-line gunfights have killed at least five people and wounded dozens over the past two weeks". He goes on to say, "The root of the crisis, economists say, is that Egypt is running out of hard currency it needs for fuel imports. The shortage is raising questions about Egypt's ability to keep on importing wheat that is essential to subsidized bread supplies, stirring fears of an economic catastrophe at a time when the government is already struggling to quell violent protests by its political rivals."

Well enough with the quoted remarks. Kirkpatrick doesn't name the economists or why the country the country is running out of hard currency. Who is "raising questions" is unknown and who is raising fears of an "economic catastrophe is also unknown.

Supposedly United States officials (also unnamed) indicate unless Egypt raises taxes and implements subsidy cuts tied to a $4.8 billion loan by the International Monetary Fund, the money won't be forthcoming, Egypt's credit worthiness would remain in question and a "yawning deficit" would preclude the country getting additional loans to help reduce its deficit.

So it seems unless the Egyptian government institutes harsh austerity measures on the people or it gets no loans. And the economic crisis presumably worsens bringing more hardship on the people.

Thus far President Mohammed Morsi has resisted the IMF deal. Maybe he realizes the "cure" of higher taxes and harsh austerity measures on the backs of the people would only worsen their economic plight.

From here the question is why is the West squeezing Egypt some two plus years after its Arab Spring revolution that saw the overthrow of the dictatorial Mubarak regime which incurred the debt now plaguing the country? It would seem that debt should be forgiven now that a legitimately elected president is running the country. Is Western greed in play here that must be sated before Egypt can begin to solve its economic difficulties?

As for the new Egypt, the judges, all holdover appointees made under Mubarak's regime have struck down the election law and postponed the vote for a new parliament until at least the fall. Those elections were scheduled to be held this spring.

So here is Morsi, freely and legitimately elected, a new constitution in place but the court's always resisting his initiatives and no parliament in place to help enact and implement the laws of the country.

So Morsi has been forced to issue decrees giving him temporary executive powers to keep the government functioning but he's resisted by the courts and the political opposition that condemns his decrees while denouncing him as a dictator.

As for the West (or at least the U.S.) was benevolent at one time after W.W. II and initiated the "Marshall Plan" to help rebuild a devastated Europe with no expectation the aid would be paid back.

Egypt has not been devastated as Europe was but desperately needs economic assistance, particularly fuel and wheat supplies that would immediately stabilize the country and prevent an unnecessary greater crisis.

Right now Egypt's black market and corruption proliferate exacerbating the Egyptian economic crisis.

There is an unnecessary economic crisis besetting Egypt that the West could easily bring to a halt if their benevolence was at play thus preventing harsh austerity measures from being placed on the people. Such measures don't work and only makes matters worse. Such measures only serve the greedy neo-liberal financial interests of the IMF.

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