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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 24, 2005 / 15 Adar I, 5765

Social Security reform may pass

By Tony Blankley


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | There is a high likelihood that Social Security reform will be passed within a year. I write this although most congressmen I have spoken with — both Republican and Democratic — currently don't expect it. In fact, many members doubt it will even come to a vote. They are certainly hoping it won't. But then congressmen and senators are sometimes nearly the last to know how they are actually going to vote.

When I was Speaker Newt Gingrich's press secretary in the 1990s, it was often the case that only weeks, days and sometimes even hours or minutes before an important vote, less than half the members expressed support for the legislation that ultimately passed. While inducements and arm twisting inevitably played its part in some last minutes decisions (and surely will on Social Security this time), the larger reason for the unreliability of early congressional opinion is that until close to the time of voting, the members are not fully aware of all the decision criteria they will face.

Depending on which side has done a better job of public persuasion, public opinion may change nationally or in their districts. There may be unexpected changes in the lineup of interest groups in support of a bill. Certain interest groups will be more or less effective in making their cases. This year, the president's outside supporters may spend up to $200 million in support of passage. Karl Rove's multi-million-person election year volunteer machinery will be rolled out to do battle. The burden of those efforts have not yet begun to have their effects.

Right now, voting no on Social Security looks like the safer vote. But if President Bush can create a sense of urgency in the public (and particularly in the districts of hesitant members), then voting no next fall may be seen as carrying its own political risks.

Often congressmen and senators assume certain provisions of a bill will be popular or unpopular, and express their early support or opposition accordingly. But they may find out their early assumptions were wrong. This could well be the case on Social Security. Currently there are about two dozen Republican House members who have told their leadership that voting for Social Security changes could be political death for them. Another about 40 members probably share that fear. If they are justified in their fears, their leadership will not try to force them to vote yes, in which case Social Security will not pass the House. After all, the Republican House leadership doesn't want to risk losing its majority status in the next congress.

But careful polling may well show these members that their fear is misplaced. Politicians rely on their political judgment built up over a lifetime in politics. This instinct is usually pretty accurate for politicians midway through a successful electoral career. But their instinct on Social Security may well be off because of the sharp difference in public attitudes based on the age of the voters.

The electorate is, of course, constantly changing. Old people die, young people come of age and start voting. We don't notice this gradual change, and usually it doesn't matter that much. But on the issue of Social Security, age is a defining measure of attitude. The Roosevelt-era voters, who hold Social Security untouchable, are dying off very quickly now, while the post-boomer generation, which discounts its reliability, is coming into its high voting rate period of life. The boomers are split.

Most congressmen over the age of 40 feel in their bones that touching Social Security is political death. But their bones may be deceiving them. When the Republican Party starts polling the specific districts of fearful members, they may well find out that properly designed, a Social Security bill may not be political death at all — given the changing demographics. The party has several months to take these soundings, as part of a confidence-building effort for the members who will be called on to vote in the fall or winter.

Moreover, only after months of careful polling, listening and discussion with various interest groups and political factions, will President Bush settle on the various pieces of his Social Security bill most likely to gain majority support in Congress. Currently, members of Congress are imagining a fright night of all the most unpopular provisions.

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The other element not currently being fully considered is President Bush's willfulness, persistence and leadership. Particularly if Iraq and foreign policy are seen to be going better by the fall, President Bush will carry a bigger megaphone in persuading the public and a bigger stick to persuade the politicians.

Thus, it is highly relevant to the politics of Social Security that Sen. Hillary Clinton started talking positively about events in Iraq last week. As a particularly acute bellwether of political expediency, Senator Clinton's positive rhetorical shift on Iraq suggests good news for President Bush. With the economy predicted to continue in healthy 3.5 percent growth for the year, and with things going the president's way abroad, he could well go into the autumn legislating season with 55-58 percent job approval.

Such a president — armed with a carefully designed bill that finesses the hardest bits of the reform, and laying the charge of obstruction and dereliction of duty at the doorstep of naysaying congressmen of both parties — is quite likely to get his way on Social Security reform, which almost all members, despite what they are saying publicly, know is in desperate need of rectification. And, at the margin, that shriveled but not yet fully dead sense of public duty, may move the odd vote or two.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many Washington and the media consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.




Tony Blankley is editorial page editor of The Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.



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