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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 June 13, 2006 / 17 Sivan, 5766

Britain's economy is just like America's — minus the entrepreneurs and growth

By Niall Ferguson


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Summer is the time of year Americans are most likely to visit Britain, and Britons to visit America. Last week I bumped into one of my Harvard students in the West End. Meanwhile, Gordon Brown, chancellor of the exchequer and prime minister in waiting, is looking forward to his annual sojourn to Martha's Vineyard.


London on a sunny June evening is an alluringly vibrant place. The crowds spilling out of the pubs are abuzz with anticipation of the World Cup, hopeful of English victories.


No wonder Brown wishes he were in the United States, the one place in the world that will largely ignore the next two weeks of 24/7 soccer. As a Scotsman, Brown finds himself in a quandary because Scotland failed to qualify for the finals. He may insist that he is supporting England. But because the rest of his countrymen north of the border will back anyone — even Trinidad and Tobago — against the "auld enemy," no one believes a word of it.


Brown has other reasons for preferring the States in the summer. He loves to proclaim his admiration for the U.S. economy, lacing his speeches with phrases such as "supply-side dynamism."


American visitors to London can be forgiven for buying the claim that Brown has turned Britain into USA Lite. In many ways, central London has become a kind of low-rise Manhattan. The best restaurants are thronged by young men whose net worth is in direct proportion to the casualness of their attire. (If you're wearing a tie, your hedge fund must be in trouble.)

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Yet appearances can deceive. Just as Brown sees only Martha's Vineyard in the summer, and therefore has no inkling of the misery of Massachusetts in mid-winter, so Americans who visit only London know nothing of this country as a whole. For the capital — that strange hybrid of Londhattan and Londonistan — has never been less British. Enriched by the growth of international financial services, populated by immigrants, London is to Britain what Hong Kong is to China.


It is when you take a closer look at the People's Republic of Britain that the absurdity of Brown's transatlantic rhetoric is laid bare. The most that can be said is that, in financial terms, Britain has become Mini-me to the United States' Dr. Evil.


Like the U.S., Britain has been enjoying a debt-propelled consumption boom. Household debt has grown at an accelerating pace since 1997 and exceeds 150% of post-tax income. Saving has plunged. As long as housing prices kept rising, the party could go on. But since the market cooled in the second half of 2004, the hangover has begun. Last year, Britain's economy grew by a miserable 1.8%.


The other source of growth in Brown's Britain has been public spending. Real government spending has surged since 1999 at an average rate of nearly 5% a year. Significantly, nearly a third of all the increase in employment since 1997 has been in the public sector, which now accounts for nearly 6 million workers.


As in the U.S., this splurge has been financed partly by borrowing. And, like the U.S., Britain also has a large current account deficit because imports have grown faster than exports.


Yet in the case of the United States, these vices are in large measured compensated for by the underlying vitality of its entrepreneurs and workers. Can the same be said for Britain? The answer is a resounding no.


Superficially, to be sure, British unemployment is low. But the official statistics are deceptive. In fact, about 5.3 million adults of working age are dependent on benefits, and 2.3 million of them have been living on welfare for more than five years. The reason they don't show up in the statistics is that many of them are counted as unfit for work rather than jobless. Every day, 23 teenagers in Britain sign up for disability benefits.


This reflects a crisis of public education as much as of public health — precisely the sectors into which Brown has been pouring money. As the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development points out, an exceptionally large share of British pupils leave school without qualifications. It may be technically correct that the disabled are not unemployed. The reality is that they are unemployable.


Nor do employed Britons rate very highly in international comparisons. In terms of productivity, Britain lags behind not only the United States and Germany but France and even Italy.


So, as much as I love Britain in the summer, I see all around the first intimations of a coming winter of discontent. And I feel angry at the way Brown has gotten away with all this through a combination of dumb luck (the global economy has given him a free ride) and a distinctly Scottish ability to intimidate critics.


So go to Martha's Vineyard, Gordon. Enjoy. But this time do England a favor. Don't come back.

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


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Niall Ferguson is a professor of history at Harvard University. He is the author of "Empire" (Basic Books, 2003) and "Colossus" (Penguin, 2004). Comment by clicking here.


06/06/06: The X-Men have taken over Washington
05/30/06: Quit protesting, profs!
05/23/06: World markets' wild ride: Economic volatility is back with a vengeance
05/16/06: The Cold Wars are coming
05/09/06: Many commentators are missing dangerous political shift
05/02/06: Put some sugar in your tank
04/25/06: Hu and the dog that didn't bark
04/18/06: Should Americans be less optimistic?
04/11/06: Globalization's second death?
04/04/06: So many ‘special’ friends
03/28/06: Let's get it right about what has gone wrong
03/21/06: Congress is trying to give the world a globotomy
03/14/06: Lame ducks can still bite back
03/07/06: A 19th Century critique of a 21st Century president
02/28/06: The crash of civilizations
02/21/06: Not the president, but close
02/14/06: Want historic trouble? Look south
02/07/06: Greenspan advising Britain? It's housing bubbles, deficits and potential meltdowns all over again
01/31/06: Missing the Cold War
01/24/06: It's a sick, Thick World
01/17/06: Tomorrow's world war today
01/03/06: Scotland, it's over, but keep the accents
12/20/05: History, democracy and Iraq
12/20/05: History, democracy and Iraq
11/22/05: Ghost of Napoleon haunts Tony Blair
11/22/05: Can it happen in Britain too?
11/15/05: Red plus blue equals purple
11/10/05: The fires of disintegration
11/01/05: Triumph of an über-wonk

© 2006, Los Angeles Times Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate

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