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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 25, 2011 / 23 Tamuz, 5771

Postwar Pillars Of Capitalism Are Crumbling

By Robert J. Samuelson




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | We are now witnessing "the crisis of the old order." The phrase, coined by historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. to describe the failure of unfettered capitalism in the 1920s, also applies to the present, despite different circumstances.

Everywhere, advanced nations face similar problems: overcommitted welfare states, aging populations, flagging economic expansion. These conditions define the global crisis and explain why it's struck the U.S., Europe and Japan simultaneously. We need to move beyond daily headlines to understand this larger predicament.

The old order, constructed by most democracies after World War II, rested on three pillars. One was the welfare state. Government would protect the unemployed, aged, disabled and poor. Capitalism would be tamed.

A second was faith in economic growth; this would raise everyone's living standards while permitting income redistribution. Growth was ordained, because economists had learned enough from the 1930s to cure periodic recessions. Finally, global trade and finance served countries' mutual interests.

All three pillars are wobbling. To be sure, the financial crisis worsened matters, and each country's situation is different. But the differences obscure large similarities.

Start with the welfare state. A blessing to many, it's also a common burden. Its expansion was huge. In 1950, government spending as a share of a nation's GDP was 28% in France, 30% in Germany and 21% in the U.S. By 1999, figures were 52% in France, 48% in Germany and 30% in the U.S.

Aging societies would boost future costs for social security and health care. From 2008 to 2050, the 65-plus population is projected to rise 40% in Germany, 77% in France and 121% in the U.S.

Given this outlook, even countries without immediate crises are embracing austerity measures. All face a ruinous choice: The higher taxes or deficits needed to finance more welfare spending might further damage the economy, but cutting benefits stirs popular backlash.

Still, benefits are vulnerable. Ireland cut benefits for the unemployed by 10%, reduced child payments by 16% and, starting in 2014, will gradually raise the retirement age from 65 to 68.

On paper, faster economic growth could rescue governments from this trap. Unfortunately, this seems a mirage. Indeed, the old order's second prop — faith in routine economic expansion — is suspect.

Economists exaggerated their understanding and control. They seem to have exhausted conventional policy approaches. Central banks such as the Federal Reserve have held interest rates low. Budget deficits are high.

Some American economists say the U.S. should temporarily run even bigger deficits. Perhaps that would work, but Europe's experience counsels otherwise. Big deficits there led to higher interest rates, reflecting investors' greater fears of default. Default anxieties in turn weaken banks — large holders of government bonds — and, through them, the broader economy.

Although the U.S. hasn't yet suffered this fate, it might, especially considering warnings from Moody's and Standard & Poor's that exploding federal debt could cause rating downgrades.

Austerity practiced by one or two overcommitted nations may succeed; their economies can grow by increasing exports to replace lost domestic spending. But prolonged austerity practiced by most advanced countries could act as a huge drag.

To whom can they export? The obvious answer is China and other "emerging markets." But China frustrates this possibility by maintaining an artificially low currency that subsidizes its exports and sustains large trade surpluses. China sees trade as a jobs creator. It shuns the notion of trading for mutual advantage — the old order's third pillar. The political foundation of the global trading system is at risk.

We have left our collective comfort zone. Ideas and institutions that, on the whole, served well since World War II are under a cloud.

The same was true in the 1920s and early 1930s. Then, the world's leading nations vainly struggled to maintain the gold standard, which — before World War I — had anchored a prosperous economic order. There was a natural impulse to cling to familiar ideas and practices in which people were invested both politically and intellectually. This inertia contributed to the Great Depression's severity.

Something similar is happening today. Economic weakness in advanced countries stems partly from the residual trauma on consumers and companies after the 2008-2009 financial crisis. But the effect is complicated by a backward-looking mentality. Governments everywhere are striving to protect the old order because they fear and do not understand the new.

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01/27/11: How Obama's speech muddied the budget debate
01/24/11: China's new world order demands stronger U.S. response
10/18/10: What's left in the Fed's toolbox?
10/11/10: The Age of Austerity
09/20/10: The ritual of sound-bite economics
08/09/10: America's parent trap
08/02/10: Hope for our energy future
07/29/10: Why CEOs aren't hiring
06/07/10: Duped by success
05/31/10: Why Obama's poverty rate measure misleads
05/17/10: Wake up, America
03/22/10: The maestro's misconceptions
03/15/10: Obama's illusions of cost-control
01/14/10: In the aftermath of the Great Recession
12/29/09: Democracy's demolition derby
11/30/09: Bipartisan threats against the institution that saved America from depression
09/14/09: Give It to Us Straight
09/07/09: Bad Future for Jobs?
08/24/09: A Rail Boondoggle, Moving at High
08/10/09: Championing the Status Quo
08/03/09: We'll remain in denial, prisoners of wishful thinking, until the fateful reckoning arrives in the unimagined future
07/27/09: Obama's misleading medicine
07/13/09: Americans' self-indulgence hurts us
07/06/09: Economists out to lunch
06/29/09: Panics ‘R’ Us!
06/08/09: Flirting with deflation or inflation? Now the economy might be at risk of both
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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