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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 August 9, 2010 / 29 Menachem-Av, 5770

How to Start Fixing Congress

By Jack Kelly

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In Gallup's annual survey of confidence in institutions last month, Congress ranked dead last, with an all-time low of 11 percent of Americans expressing "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in our federal lawmakers.

A Rasmussen survey, also in mid-July, indicated only 23 percent of voters think the federal government today rules with the consent of the governed. Sixty-two percent said it does not.

Rasmussen has an arguably arbitrary formula for distinguishing between the "political class" and "Mainstream America." But the differences in opinions on issues are striking.


  • 75 percent of likely voters prefer free markets to a government-managed economy, but only 37 percent of the political class do.

  • 56 percent of likely voters want Obamacare repealed, but only 8 percent of the political class do.

  • 66 percent of likely voters said it is "very important" for the federal government to reduce illegal immigration. Only 32 percent of the political class agreed.

"America's ruling class speaks the language and has the taste, habits and tools of bureaucrats," wrote Boston University Prof. Angelo Codevilla. "It rules uneasily over the majority of Americans not oriented to government."

There was a time, not so long ago, when Congress -- the House of Representatives especially -- represented the views of mainstream Americans. That time has clearly passed. How might we bring it back?

Part of the problem is partisan and ideological. Democrats are more fond of government, less respectful of the rights and wisdom of ordinary Americans. If they get thrashed in November, we'll have a Congress that more nearly represents the views of mainstream America.

But there was plenty of corruption, big spending and disregard for the opinions of ordinary Americans when Republicans controlled Congress from 1995 to 2007.

"Republican and Democratic officeholders and their retinues show a similar presumption to dominate and fewer differences in tastes, habits, opinions and sources of income among one another than between both and the rest of the country," Prof. Codevilla said.

So the problem is primarily structural, and will require structural fixes.

Most important are term limits. The longer a congressman or senator is in Washington, the less likely he or she will represent the views of his or her constituency in Washington, the more likely it is he or she will seek to impose Washington's views on his or her constituents.

If lawmakers were restricted to 12 consecutive years in office, Congress might again become what the Founding Fathers intended it to be.

But we'd have to amend the Constitution to get term limits. Campaign finance reform can be achieved by majority vote.

Real campaign finance reform is essential because lawmakers these days are more attentive to special interest groups that give them money than to the views of their constituents.

The power of lobbyists has been magnified by faux campaign reformers who set low ceilings on the amounts individuals could contribute.

Serious campaign finance reform requires, first, that candidates for federal office be permitted to accept contributions only from citizens of the United States who are registered to vote in the state from which they are seeking election (no money from political action committees, corporations, labor unions, the minor children of wealthy people or out of staters) or from the political party to which they belong.

It requires also that the ceiling on individual contributions be raised from the current $2,300 to $10,000. That's not nearly enough money for a single individual to "own" his own congressman, but high enough so an otherwise competitive candidate can raise the campaign funds he or she needs from among his or her constituents.

To keep special interests from burrowing in through the back door, we need to discourage political parties from taking their money. The parties can't, under the Constitution, be forbidden from taking lobbyist money. But they could be bribed into eschewing it if Congress were to establish a $200 million annual fund, to be divided among the parties in proportion to their share of the vote in the last presidential election, provided the parties agree to accept additional contributions only from citizens of the United States who are registered to vote, in amounts of not more than $100,000 per year.

If we reduce the time our representatives spend in Washington, and their dependence on special interest groups, our representatives might again become our representatives.

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JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration.

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© 2009, Jack Kelly

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