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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. 13, 2009 / 19 Shevat 5769

Caution: Zombie economy ahead

By Rich Lowry


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Computer hackers managed to hijack a digital road sign in Austin, Texas, the other day and change its message to "Zombies Ahead."


It was a whimsical warning for that stretch of Texas road, but could have served as a deadly earnest statement about the U.S. economy. "Zombie banks" was the term for Japanese financial institutions propped up by government in the 1990s despite their basic insolvency after a real-estate bubble. These unprofitable banks, in a financial revenge of the living dead, cast a decade-long pall over Japan.


At the time, American officials like President Barack Obama's economic guru Larry Summers urged the Japanese to give up on failed institutions. Instead, Japan pumped 12 percent of its gross domestic product into saving the banks and got a "lost decade" of economic stagnation in return. Economic analysts across the board agree that the Japanese example must not be repeated, even as our lawmakers stumble into repeating it.


Members of the House Financial Services Committee flogged eight banking chief executive officers the other day, apparently without considering that some of them were already dead men walking. The CEOs were grilled about their lending practices and bonuses, when they should have been asked, "Why does your company still exist?" The head of Citigroup, Vikram Pandit, noted he's getting paid $1 a year, which might be $1 too much given the state of his all-but-bankrupt firm.


The awful truth is that the financial system has at least another $1 trillion hole in it. Either the U.S. government has to continue to try to patch it over with massive – and perhaps ever-escalating – injections of money a la the Japanese in the 1990s, or it has to take the painful, risky step of letting some of the big, irreparably wounded financial players go down.


Neither choice is appealing, which is why Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner trotted out his muddle-through, we'll-get-back-to-you-on-details rescue plan. Obama shows no appetite for grasping the nettle of a problem much more difficult technically and politically than asking Congress to shovel billions of dollars at its favorite priorities in a stimulus bill. In his first prime-time press conference, Obama dodged when asked if it would take another trillion dollars to rescue the financial sector – because a simple "yes" would be just too starkly truthful.


As it stands now, the U.S. government is keeping alive banks that would otherwise go bust at the same time it is hectoring them about lending more money – in other words, Japan redux. "Many banks continued to extend credit to insolvent borrowers, gambling that these firms would recover or that the government would bail them out," writes University of Chicago economist Anil K. Kashyap of Japan in the 1990s. "The Japanese government also encouraged banks to increase their lending to small- and medium-sized firms to ease the credit crunch after 1998." The resulting misallocation of capital smothered growth.


Tokyo short-circuited the natural churning of the capitalist system that is the only way to clear out failed companies and unproductive uses of capital. If the U.S. government keeps alive Chrysler and General Motors or Citigroup and Bank of America when they are no longer viable – and have rendered themselves such through poor business choices and foolish risk-taking – it will create a zombie economy without the capacity for self-renewal.


The financial system, of course, is fragile. We have learned that the uncontrolled collapse of an institution like Lehman Brothers is dangerous. Bankrupt banks that are truly "too big to fail" need to be taken over by the government, broken up until they are small enough to fail and sold off, with government eating their toxic assets for now. This kind of seminationalization can clear the decks for new, healthy banks that won't be long-term wards of the government or long-term drags on growth.


During the stimulus debate, Obama often cited Japan's cautionary example. But Japan tried a big stimulus, too, even as it left in place its zombie banks. Will Obama heed his own admonitions?

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© 2009 King Features Syndicate

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