In this issue

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 8, 2009 / 16 Sivan 5769

Flirting with deflation or inflation? Now the economy might be at risk of both

By Robert J. Samuelson

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | To make sense of today's most perplexing economic debate — whether we're flirting with inflation or deflation — it's worth recalling what happened after World War II. Under intense political pressure, President Harry Truman lifted wage-price controls. All heck broke loose. Suppressed during the war, wages and prices exploded. Autoworkers, steelworkers and others went on strike for higher pay. In 1946 and 1947, consumer prices rose 8.5 and 14.4 percent, respectively.

What's instructive is that prices then stabilized. There was no upward wage-price spiral as occurred in the 1960s and 1970s. True, a mild recession in late 1948 and 1949 helped temper price increases. But inflation subsided mainly because people didn't expect it to continue. They'd lived through the Depression, when prices declined. They knew that, except for the impact of wars, American prices were usually fairly stable.

The lesson for today: Psychology matters. What economists call "expectations" shape how workers, managers and investors behave. If they fear inflation, they act in ways that bring it about. The converse is also true, as the late 1940s remind. The lesson provides context for today's debate. Are the Federal Reserve's easy-money policies laying the groundwork for higher inflation? Or will these policies prevent deflation — a broad decline of prices — that would deepen the economic slump?

The questions arise from the Fed's strenuous efforts to contain the economic crisis. It has cut the overnight Fed funds rate almost to zero. It has made loans when private lenders wouldn't — in the commercial paper market, for instance. To lower long-term interest rates, it has pledged to buy $1.25 trillion of mortgage securities backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and $300 billion of long-term Treasury bonds. All these measures are without modern precedent.

Precisely, say the inflation worriers. Once the economy recovers, the easy money and credit will spawn inflation. Cheap loans will bid up prices; wages may follow. Low interest rates will encourage spending and deter saving. The Fed will be "under pressure from Congress, the administration and business …to prevent interest rates from increasing," warns economist Allan Meltzer of Carnegie Mellon University. With huge budget deficits, the White House and Congress will want to hold down borrowing costs. Inflation psychology will emerge.

Nonsense, say deflation worriers. Inflation results mainly from too much demand chasing too little supply. Today, too much supply chases too little demand. High unemployment and slack business capacity (idle factories, vacant office suites, closed mines) impede wage and price increases. If the Fed doesn't maintain cheap credit, shrinking demand might cause prices and wages to spiral down. "Deflation, not inflation, is the clear and present danger," retorts Princeton economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.

It seems impossible for both arguments to be correct, but they may be. As Krugman notes, inflationary pressures are almost nonexistent. In the past year, the Consumer Price Index has been roughly stable. In May, unemployment rose to 9.4 percent from 8.9 percent. A survey by Challenger, Gray and Christmas found that 52 percent of firms had frozen or cut salaries. GM's bankruptcy is but one indicator of excess industrial capacity. The surplus is worldwide, finds a study by Joseph Lupton and David Hensley of J.P. Morgan. Inflationary expectations are low.

All this gives the Fed maneuvering room. Expectations matter; inflation won't burst forth instantly. Even Meltzer doesn't see an immediate surge. "When will it come? Surely not right away," he writes.

Still, Meltzer's warning remains relevant. The Fed has often overdone expansionary policies and fostered inflationary expectations. In the 1960s and '70s, that occurred through excess demand and a classic wage-price spiral. The danger now might emerge through exchange rates and commodity prices. Inflation fears could raise prices of commodities (oil, metals, foodstuffs) and depress the dollar. Imports would become costlier, allowing domestic producers to raise prices. Once inflationary practices take hold, high inflation and unemployment can coexist: dreaded "stagflation." In 1977, both inflation and unemployment were about 7 percent.

There's evidence (better housing and auto sales, stronger growth in "emerging markets") that the danger of a deflationary economic free fall is ebbing. Someday, the Fed will have to raise interest rates. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has pledged to preempt high inflation. Will the Fed get the timing right and resist contrary political pressures? Will the pledges reassure markets?

One reason they might not is that Bernanke's term as chairman expires in January. Any replacement named by President Obama would be seen, fairly or not, as more beholden to the administration. The president could eliminate that perception by offering Bernanke — who has performed well in the crisis — a second four-year term now and, if he accepts, announcing the reappointment. That would not settle today's deflation-inflation debate. Only time will do that, but it would remove a needless uncertainty.


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05/25/09: A ‘crisis’ America needs 05/18/09: Will somebody finally say that Obama is irresponsibly mortgaging our future?
05/04/09: The Bias Against Oil And Gas
04/27/09: Environmentalists maximize the dangers of global warming while pretending we can conquer it at virtually no cost
04/20/09: Our Depression Obsession
03/23/09: Geithner treads a line between financial paralysis and populist resentment
03/23/09: American Capitalism Besieged
01/06/09: The limits of pump priming
12/29/08: Humbled By Our Ignorance
07/31/08: The homeownership obsession
07/24/08: A Depression? Hardly
07/17/08: Why isn't globalization making the interconnected world more stable?

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