SHLOMO MARKEL broadcom vp 370.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Tax money spent on welfare would be better spent on stronger education for the
long-term health of the economy, Broadcom vice president Shlomo Markel told The
Jerusalem Post Tuesday in an interview.
“As a private citizen, I don’t
think the taxes should be primarily used for transfers,” he said, referring to
wealth redistribution through taxes and benefits. “There are those that say
transfers are important for welfare, for social ideals. I think helping the poor
is important, but for there to be money, there must be sources...
money needs to go to better education, and in my opinion it should start in
middle school, or really in kindergarten.”
Since 2001, the outspoken
Markel has headed the Israeli wing of US-based Broadcom, a Nasdaq-traded company
with more than 10,000 employees and annual revenues of about $8 billion. The
company has made 11 acquisitions in Israel and is always on the lookout for
more, he said.
During his tenure, Markel said, the sources of economic
growth – higher education, which yields skilled workers, productivity and then
tax revenues – has fallen.
There have been decreases to the Chief
Scientist’s Office, research and development and education in core subjects such
as science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
“I respect all the
other subjects, but from the state’s perspective, these are the areas that
create jobs,” he said.
The change is evident in the types of start-ups
popping up: more mobile apps but fewer semiconductor businesses, which require a
solid STEM education.
“I have no problem if people make and sell an app
for a few million,” Markel said, but from a macro perspective, they don’t have
the same investment resources into their acquisitions to help them flesh out
their infrastructure and broaden their corporate expertise. “For the ones making
the application, they sell and it’s done. There’s a problem with this
Another problem is the difficulty in raising funds, he said,
adding that part of the solution lies in Israel’s institutional
“The institutions control trillions,” Markel said. But whereas
the pension funds in California, for example, invest heavily in hi-tech, Israeli
institutional investor seem to prefer to invest abroad. If they invested just 5
percent in Israeli hi-tech, they could both help boost local business and make a
hefty profit, he said.
“We have to invest in the start-up nation so it
won’t just be some book title,” Markel said.