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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 Sept. 27, 2005 / 23 Elul, 5765

How an Anti-Pork Initiative Could Pay for Katrina Reconstruction

By James Lileks


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | When President Bush announced he would prefer to cut spending rather than raise taxes to pay for New Orleans' reconstruction, many conservatives were concerned: WHAT DID YOU DO WITH GEORGE? Surely space aliens had swapped out Gee-Dub for some syntho-bot constructed in an orbital lab, because the Bush they know and love is not known for fiscal restraint.

Then again, who is?

Many on the left view Katrina as an excellent opportunity to jack up taxes on those squat little spats-wearing plutocrats who stroll around Broadway thrashing the poor with diamond-topped walking sticks. Massive national sacrifice is required, the left says, so let's make the top quintile roll up its sleeves and saw off an arm. After all, tax cuts are partially responsible — rich people used them to buy SUVs, and then they set them on fire, which contributed to global warming. Or tax cuts somehow angered Gaia, who is exquisitely sensitive to marginal rates. She will hold her fury if the top rate is 37 percent, but anything less and it's Cat Five City.

The president is correct, in theory: Cut pork and don't raise taxes.

In fact, we should tax less — if New Orleans were made immune from corporate taxes for 10 years, the Mafia would go legit just to move there and sell Sopranos tchotchkes.

But what pork might we trim?

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay recently announced that the budget had been pared down to the white dry bone. At press time, chemists had not determined what he was smoking.

Perhaps it was a taunt, daring members of Congress to step forward and offer their own cuts. "Mr. Speaker, the Great State of Idaho gladly gives up federal funding for the Toothpick Museum and Interpretative Center. For a year, anyway." If so, DeLay's call fell on deaf ears. The sort of ears unlikely to be converted into silk purses.

Pork is a relative thing. Snout of the beholder, and all that. Asking Congress to cut pork for altruistic reasons is like asking People magazine not to run stories about Oprah's fluctuating weight because it would be mean. Some other mechanism is needed.

To the blogosphere, Robin! Blogs are popping up with detailed lists of oink-related spending we could defer for a year or two. Sites like pork-reports.blogspot.com not only have stepped up to the plate to enumerate pork's cost, but point out that the plate costs $422,934 and was funded by a rider to the 1998 Anti-Rider Bill. Theoretically, Congress could take their advice and cut.

And theoretically, Joe Biden could hold his remarks to less than four minutes.

Big highway projects, we can agree, aren't always pork. Cities change; that four-lane interstate needs widening, if only so we can roll the tanks three abreast when the Bushitler Junta finally declares martial law.

But $1.3 million for a pedestrian bridge to Clinton's Little Rock museum? Two-point-three million for landscaping along the Reagan Freeway in California? Sixteen million for research grants to the Carter Killer Rabbit Control Center? OK, we made that last one up.

Point is, pork is bipartisan, and so many of these piglets hanging off the teat of the highway bill are wants, not needs — unless you think that the Constitution demands we tax people in Maine to pay for a Transportation Museum in Iowa ($3.6 million).

Pork works, that's the problem. If the Robert Byrd Monorail takes you over man-made Lake Byrd, past the lovely Robert Byrd Public Ski Area on the slopes of Byrd Peak (when the snow comes, they call it Wizard's Hat Mountain) to the Robert Byrd Public Library, you might well be inclined to cast your vote for that Byrd fellow.

But it's not hopeless. Say we reset the budget to the last bacon-stuffed multibazillion-dollar deal. Give every state delegation jurisdiction over another state's pork. The delegation that cuts the most from another state gets a 10 percent increase in its own outlay. Let them bleed one another dry instead of the rest of us, in other words.

Like all satisfying solutions suffused with poetic justice, it has no chance of being enacted. So we won't raise taxes, and we won't cut spending. Whatever will we do?

Oh, right: borrow from Asia and Europe. Whew! Forgot all about that one. On to the next budget, then.

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.

JWR contributor James Lileks is a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Comment by clicking here.

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