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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

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 Sept. 20, 2010 / 12 Tishrei, 5771

The ritual of sound-bite economics

By Robert J. Samuelson




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It is a ritual as predictable as the tides. With every election, we descend into sound-bite economics. Rhetorical claims grow more partisan and self-serving. We are now deep in this process. President Obama's policies either averted another Great Depression -- or have crippled the recovery. These debates confirm the dreary state of economic discourse. The right rejects the idea that sometimes government must rescue the economy from panic; the left sees salvation only in ever-larger government. The first is an invitation to anarchy; the second threatens long-term economic growth through higher taxes, regulations or budget deficits.

When Obama took office in early 2009, the economy and financial markets were in virtual free-fall. By summer, they were not. Only a rabid partisan can think that Obama's policies had nothing to do with the reversal. His forcefulness helped calmed the prevailing hysteria.

True, many recovery policies came from the Federal Reserve, and others -- notably, the unpopular Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) -- began under the Bush administration. Obama's contributions included the "stimulus program," a rescue of the auto industry and a "stress test" for 19 large banks. The stress test explored whether banks needed big infusions of capital. Most didn't.

The process was messy, and, although many details can be questioned, the overall impact was huge. Without government's aggressive response, gross domestic product would have dropped 12 percent instead of 4 percent and 16.6 million jobs would have been lost instead of 8.4 million, estimate economists Alan Blinder of Princeton and Mark Zandi of Moody's Analytics. Unemployment would have hit 16 percent. These numbers, too, can be disputed (they seem high to me), but the direction is certainly correct.

Up to a point, blaming Obama for the sluggish recovery is also unfair. Millions of Americans were over-borrowed. Paying down debts was bound to crimp the $10 trillion of annual consumer spending. Could anyone have realistically neutralized this? Nope. Nor could the housing collapse be quickly reversed. The right's sweeping indictment of Obama is wildly exaggerated. It is not, however, entirely misplaced.

Confidence is crucial to stimulating consumer spending and business investment, and Obama constantly subverts confidence. In the past year, he's undone some of the good of his first months. He loves to pick fights with Wall Street bankers, oil companies, multinational firms, health insurers and others. He thinks that he can separate policies that claim to promote recovery from those that appeal to his liberal "base," even when the partisan policies raise business costs, stymie job creation or augment uncertainty -- and, thereby, undermine recovery. His health-care "reform" will make hiring more expensive to employers by mandating insurance coverage. The moratorium on deep-water oil drilling kills jobs; the administration's estimate of employment loss is up to 12,000.

Obama's proposal to increase taxes on personal incomes exceeding $250,000 ($200,000 for singles) is the latest example of his delusional approach. It satisfies the liberal itch to "get the rich." Well, the rich and most other taxpayers will ultimately have to pay higher taxes to help close budget deficits. But not now.

Raising taxes in a weak economy doesn't make sense. Just consider this astonishing fact: These affluent households represent almost a quarter of all consumer spending, according to Zandi. Increasing their taxes, he estimates, would cost 770,000 jobs by mid-2012. Richard Curtin, director of the University of Michigan's Survey of Consumers, says his data suggest that uncertainty about the extension of the Bush tax cuts has already caused affluent buyers to cut their spending.

Some small businesses would also be affected, because many (sole proprietorships, partnerships and subchapter S corporations) file their taxes on personal returns. Higher taxes would discourage hiring and expansion. No one knows by how much, but the Tax Policy Center estimates that higher business taxes would affect 725,000 returns with about $400 billion of business income. Some of these are partnerships of doctors, lawyers and accountants. Others are contractors, restaurant owners, florists and plumbers.

All the partisan rhetoric can be ascribed to "politics as usual." True. That's the point. In an election dominated by the economy, the campaign discourse is strangely disconnected from underlying economic realities. The simplicities of the right collide with the simplicities of the left.

In textbooks, elections clarify complex issues and help resolve social conflicts. In practice, they often sow confusion and create unrealistic expectations, as politicians peddle phony solutions and make unattainable promises. Americans face crucial economic choices. How to cut long-term budget deficits without threatening the present recovery? How to control health spending without damaging health care? How to adjust to an aging society and still retain a powerful economy? On these and other hard questions, the silence is deafening.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on Robert J. Samuelson's column by clicking here.



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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