May 13, 2013
David G. Savage:
Church-state, literally? Supreme Court weighing public school graduation in a church
May 10, 2013
Rabbi Berel Wein: Be all that you should be
May 8, 2013
Peter Ford: Why China is welcoming both Israel's Netanyahu and Palestinians' Abbas
Obama administration quietly backs out of appeal over new contraceptive mandate
At Kerry-Putin meeting, US-Russia relations thaw --- a tad
The Kosher Gourmet by Leela Cyd Ross :
Almost too pretty to eat, this colorful salad with Sicilian inspiration will tickle the taste buds and delight your visual sensibility
May 6, 2013
May 3, 2013
Kids, kittens the Same?
With employee perks at struggling Internet pioneer Yahoo! it's hard to tell
Artificial kidney offers hope to patients tethered to a dialysis machine
April 29, 2013
Poland's new Jewish museum celebrates life, doesn't revisit Holocaust
Terrorism in America: Is US missing a chance to learn from failed plots?
Boston Bomber's 'Svengali' Revealed
Tiny satellites + cellphones = cheaper 'eyes in the sky' for NASA
April 26, 2013
Clifford D. May:
Defense in the Age of Jihadist Terrorism
Sharon Palmer, R.D.:
How to feel your best -- with plenty of energy, a healthy weight and optimal mental and physical function -- without driving yourself batty
April 24, 2013
Admit it: No one has any idea what's going on
April 22, 2013
US man departing country arrested on terror charges
An unorthodox but growing treatment in a 9-year-old's battle against cancer
April 19, 2013
Caroline B. Glick:
Why Obama's visit to Israel had no impact on public opinion or government policy
Gold collapse: The start of something big?
Livable super-Earths? Two candidates among Kepler's latest finds
April 17, 2013
Too much of a good thing? 'Palestinians' realize downside of foreign aid boom
BAD NEWS: EVERYONE IS RIGHT!
April 15, 2013
Egyptian Christians respond with harsh words to attack -- rocks, Molotov cocktails, and gunfire -- against main cathedral
Marcy Darnovsky and Karuna Jaggar:
High Court to decide if you should own your DNA
US bracing for more Russian blowback after taking action against 18 more human rights violators
April 12, 2013
New cybersecurity bill: Privacy threat or crucial band-aid?
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom:
The Kosher Gourmet by Susan Russo:
Jackie Robinson's Friend, Hank Greenberg; CNN's Jake Tapper; Texas County in the News is named for 19thC. Jewish soldier and Congressman
FRUITY QUINOA STUFFED PEPPERS: A flavorful, colorful and edible vessel of delicately fluffy, mildly nutty filling combined with chewy apricots, tangy cherries, and crunchy pistachios
April 10, 2013
North Korean missiles: Could US shoot them down?
Warning: Don't waste your capital being fooled by profit prophets
Donald Hensrud, M.D.:
Mayo Clinic Medical Edge: Take vitamin supplements with caution --- even approved, they may actually do damage
74 DNA discoveries move cure closer for three cancers
April 8, 2013
Jonathan Tobin: What Part of No Preconditions Do American Jews Not Get?
Is Putin finally trading his own party for a new power base?
Jewish World Review
January 27, 2009
/ 2 Shevat 5769
When Maynard met Nancy
Nancy Pelosi doesn't, in Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel's words, want to "waste a crisis." She has concocted a hideous stimulus brew brimming with eye of newt, toe of frog and every other exotic ingredient favored by her Democratic colleagues.
On "This Week With George Stephanopoulos," Pelosi defended the inclusion of millions in funding for contraception. She suggested that the funding would reduce costs to the states by discouraging the bearing of children if we can't create more jobs, at least we can forestall the creation of more people. Maybe the House speaker doesn't realize that John Maynard Keynes, not Thomas Malthus, is the economist of the hour.
The bright shining original Keynesian conception of the stimulus bill was that it would rebuild the nation's famously "crumbling" infrastructure roads, schools, the energy sector while immediately creating jobs. A glorious win-win! If only it were possible to build things quickly enough.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, only $4 billion out of $30 billion in highway spending, $3 billion of $18.5 billion in renewable-energy spending and less than $7 billion of $14 billion of school-construction spending would be spent in the first two years. If spending will take place in 2011 or later, there's no reason for it to be jammed into a hastily passed stimulus bill.
Unless, of course, Democrats want to use the crisis atmosphere to bypass the normal budgetary process for long-term spending. Almost $16 billion for Pell Grants for college students and $1.9 billion for basic scientific research won't stimulate the economy in the near term. Neither will funding for the National Endowment for the Arts ($50 million) or for the National Mall ($200 million).
Pelosi's old criteria were that stimulus be "timely, targeted and temporary." That was before her caucus weighed in with the tardy, ramshackle and permanent. Countering the CBO, Democrats note that nonconstruction elements of the bill reach people faster, both the boosts for food stamps and unemployment insurance and the $275 billion in tax relief. This concedes that putting money directly in people's hands is the timeliest stimulus.
Building on that insight, a cut in the payroll tax rate which is paid by both individuals and businesses should be the bill's centerpiece. By rights, such a cut should have bipartisan appeal. For Democrats, a payroll tax cut affects those lower-income workers who don't make enough to pay income taxes. (President Obama already supports a tax credit to offset the payroll tax.) For Republicans, it's a genuine tax cut that benefits employers, too.
But Democrats prefer spending on their pet causes. Many congressional Republicans, meanwhile, foolishly act as if only the income tax matters when roughly 60 percent of wage earners pay more payroll taxes than income taxes.
A cut in the payroll rate would appear in small increments in workers' paychecks, making it more likely to be spent than a lump-sum payment (like last year's rebate checks). It would increase the take-home pay of strapped workers with no choice but to spend it. Finally, it would reduce the cost of labor for employers and make it easier at the margin to make new hires or avoid layoffs.
Nearly immediate, a payroll tax cut would be felt now, at what is likely the nadir of the recession. A halving of the payroll rate would funnel $400 billion to individuals and business, a total holiday $800 billion. The cut could be indefinite, to be rolled back when the economy picks up again, or made permanent and replaced by something else (say, an increased gas tax). The payroll tax funds Social Security and Medicare, but those programs can subsist on borrowing for now like the rest of the federal government.
No one can be sure if fiscal stimulus will work. We do know that relief for individuals and businesses right away must help more than subsidizing a wind farm in 2012.
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