No Trickle Down from Egypt's Growing Economy

[New York Times] Michael Slackman - In Egypt, where about 45% of the population survives on just $2 a day, crowds gets aggressive trying to buy up subsidized bread that can be resold for double the original price. Much of what ails Egypt seems to converge in the story of subsidized bread. Egypt started subsidizing staples like bread, sugar and tea around World War II, and has done so ever since. When it tried to stop subsidizing bread in 1977 there were riots. So the bread subsidy continues, costing Cairo about $2.74 billion a year. Overall, the government spends more on subsidies, including gasoline, than it spends on health and education. The Egyptian economy has been growing at a healthy rate - 7% last year - but there has been virtually no trickle down. Instead of making life more stable, the strong economic performance has only made people more annoyed.

2008-01-17 01:00:00

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