In this issue
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 July 28, 2009/ 7 Menachem-Av 5769

Defending the Bureau of Public Debt

By Tom Purcell

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The indignation was sorely misplaced.

I speak of a recent job posting at the Bureau of the Public Debt, which is part of the Treasury Department.

As it went, the bureau sought to hire a professional clown of sorts to draw funny cartoons and teach its managers how to use humor to reduce stress and improve productivity in the workplace.

The posting ended up on the highly trafficked Drudge Report Web site. A consensus quickly formed in the media. The bureau was roundly mocked for misusing taxpayer dough.

Then the politicians chimed in.

According to the Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail, Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., said it was among the most foolish spending he'd encountered over the years. He said the bureau should know there's little that's funny about today's economic conditions.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va. — because the bureau is headquartered in his state, he was asked to comment — said the government must be careful how it spends taxpayer dollars in tough economic times (and somehow, considering how much the government is spending lately, did so with a straight face).

But, as usual, the media and politicians are missing the larger point.

The nearly 2,000 employees who work for the Bureau of the Public Debt have been working especially hard as of late.

When the government takes in less money in tax receipts than it spends — thus producing a deficit - the bureau must borrow to make up the difference.

After the Treasury Department determines how much borrowing is needed, the bureau issues and accounts for a variety of investment instruments, including Treasury bills, notes and bonds.

The bureau sells the bulk of its instruments by hosting comprehensive auctions through which investment houses, representing clients across the globe, bid on government debt.

In the 1990s, when our government was taking in more money than it was spending — producing a surplus — the bureau was busy enough. It ran an average of 140 auctions a year.

During the George W. Bush years, as Bush increased the debt $6 trillion, the bureau's workload increased. In 2008, the bureau conducted 263 auctions to generate enough dough to keep the government running.

Now the bureau is in overdrive.

Already this year, our government has spent $1 trillion more than it has taken in, and it's on track to spend $2 trillion more than it takes in.

President Obama and Congress are just warming up. If they get their programs through, our deficit will continue running into the hundreds of billions a month for as far as the eye can see.

The bureau is in the process of conducting several auctions to cover the shortfall.

But it faces other challenges.

In addition to conducting the securities auctions, the bureau is tasked with helping other government agencies manage and process the billions in stimulus money that is working its way through the system.

Politicians, under the gun for that money to show results, are pressing government agencies to work harder and faster to distribute the dough.

The increased workload is causing bureau employees to work longer hours with short deadlines.

One bureau manager, trying to think outside the box, sought to bring in a professional funnyman to loosen things up.

The media got hold of the story and a great hue and cry resulted — a misplaced hue and cry.

How much could a temporary humor consultant cost? Five grand? Ten grand?

If only our politicians and the media were as indignant over the trillions in new debt our president and our Congress are ramming down our throats.

Rather than criticize the bureau for wanting to spend a pittance on a humor consultant, we ought to be on our hands and knees, praising its employees for keeping our government afloat as our politicians spend well beyond our means.

If the bureau deserves any criticism at all it would be this: Why spend a few extra grand to bring in a skilled funnyman when our government already has an abundance of such professionals?

We've got hundreds of clowns in Congress, and they're already on the payroll.

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© 2009, Tom Purcell