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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 Oct 27, 2011 29 Tishrei, 5772

Stuntmen of the supercommittee

By Dana Milbank




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | As members of the budget “supercommittee” arrived in a congressional hearing room for another public hearing this week, a more compelling performance of political theater was debuting nearby on the east lawn of the Capitol.

A dozen demonstrators, wearing blue and red “supercommittee” capes and masks showing larger-than-life faces of the committee members, posed for the cameras. Next to them, a grim reaper, carrying cleavers labeled “budget cuts,” menaced a group of bound hostages wearing labels such as “USAID” and “Global Health Initiative.” As the reaper raised his knives over the hostages, the committee members only shrugged.

“Are those bobbleheads?” a nearby Capitol police officer asked a reporter.

Not exactly. The performance was officially dubbed a “photo stunt” by its organizer, Oxfam America.

There was something refreshing about Oxfam’s honesty in labeling its activity a stunt. It might be a useful model for the supercommittee.

The lawmakers’ responsibility is gravely serious, but their public deliberations are about as useful as those of the actors on the east lawn.

Reasonable people on all sides know that tackling the nation’s long-term debt problems will require both an increase in taxes and cuts to entitlement programs. But just weeks from the committee’s deadline, Republicans continue to resist new tax revenues, and Democrats dance around the need for entitlement cuts.

And so, as the 12 stuntmen on the committee assembled for their hearing this week, it was to discuss something different: the relatively small slice of the budget known as “discretionary spending.” Even at this late stage, their comments -- in public, at least -- suggest they are less interested in agreeing than in making points.

“There has to be balance,” said Democrat co-chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.).

“Our entitlement spending is roughly 60 percent of the budget and growing,” countered Republican co-chair Jeb Hensarling (Texas).

“One of our major problems is the drop in revenues,” asserted Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.).

“The need to rein in mandatory spending is obviously one of the priorities that we need to address,” countered Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.).

“We need to do it, I believe, in a balanced way,” posited Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).

The only thing they seemed to agree on was that they weren’t focusing on the main issues. “Non-defense discretionary spending represents less than one-fifth of total federal spending,” Murray pointed out. “Listening to the debates here in D.C. over the last few months, you would think this small piece of pie was a whole lot bigger.”

“In many respects today,” Hensarling concurred, “we may be debating the pennies, nickels and dimes in a debt crisis that is demanding half dollars and dollar bills.”

Compared to these posturing games, genuine stunts were more compelling – such as the demonstrator who disrupted the proceedings by shouting out a different solution: “End the wars! That’s how we fix the deficit. And all this obfuscation with percentages of GDP, this is just trying to confuse the issue.”

While the lawmakers talked past each other, the advocacy group Strengthen Social Security performed its own stunt, by conference call. The group invited an actual Social Security recipient from Massachusetts to plead with Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), a supercommittee member, to resist all cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

“We depend on these things,” pleaded the elderly woman, who retired in 1987. “We worry about them each and every day.”

Of course, the Social Security and Medicare benefits for a woman of her age aren’t in jeopardy, regardless of what the supercommittee does. But this was theater.

I asked the man leading the call, Syracuse University’s Eric Kingson, how the debt problem could be solved without any cuts to entitlements.

He said we should end the “tax holiday for the very well off.”

By all means. But let’s not pretend that alone will fix the problem:

The only way out, ultimately, is to raise taxes AND cut entitlements.

If the dozen stuntmen on the supercommittee don’t adopt that thinking in the coming weeks, they might as well be wearing capes and bobbleheads.


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Previously:



10/26/11 Democrats on the sidelines
10/24/11 Rick Perry's birther Parade
10/24/11 The birthers eat their own
10/19/11 The GOP's middle man
10/17/11 The waiting for nothing Congress
10/12/11 Sparsely occupied D.C.: Why the movement hasn't caught on
10/10/11 Can Obama strike an alliance with Occupy Wall Street?
10/06/11 Chris Christie, such a presidential tease
10/05/11 Obama and his foot soldiers go toe to toe
09/28/11 Cain could deliver
09/26/11 Republicans? Mr. Nice Guys?
09/22/11 Why Ron Paul is winning the GOP primary
09/21/11 I am a job creator who creates no jobs
09/20/11 Obama launches a revolution
09/19/11 Dems for Romney?
09/14/11 ‘Supercommittee’? More than stupor committee
09/07/11 Mitt Romney finds his (corporate) voice
09/01/11 The infallible Dick Cheney
08/31/11 This liberal says Perry is the ultimate conservative candidate
08/29/11 Wanted: More bite from Obama the Great Nibbler
08/10/11 How Rep. Austin Scott betrayed his Tea Party roots
08/09/11 The most powerful man on Earth?
08/08/11 The FAA shutdown and the new rules of Washington
08/04/11 Lt. Col. Allen West fires a round at the Tea Party
08/03/11 Government on autopilot
08/02/11 Dems mourn debt deal like death
07/27/11 Life imitates sport
07/26/11 Obama and Boehner take on Washington
07/21/11 Why Americans are angry at Congress
07/20/11 The new party of Reagan
07/18/11 Rob Portman, the boring Midwesterner who could bring sanity to the debt debate
07/13/11 John Boehner's bind
07/04/11 Stephen Colbert, Karl Rove and the mockery of campaign finance
07/01/11 President Puts Up His Dukes, As He Ought To
06/28/11 Rod Blagojevich verdict: All shook up
06/27/11 Progressives voice their anger at Obama
06/24/11 ‘Mission accomplished,’ Obama style
06/22/11 Jon Huntsman's first step toward oblivion
06/21/11 Scott Walker finds making bumper stickers is easier than creating jobs
06/20/11 A day of awkwardness with Mitt Romney
06/06/11 Hubris and humility: Sarah Palin and Robert Gates on tour
06/02/11 The Weiner roast
06/01/11 Congress clocks in to clock out
05/30/11 Hermanator II: No More Mr. Gadfly
05/24/11 How Obama has empowered Netanyahu
05/24/11 Pawlenty bends his truth-telling
05/20/11 Default deniers say it's all a hoax
05/18/11: Gingrich gives voice to moderation
05/17/11: Donald Trump and the House of Horrors
05/16/11: The medical mystery of Mitt Romney
05/12/11: The body impolitic: Schock photos should tempt lawmakers to cover up
05/10/11: Muskets in hand, tea party blasts House Republicans
05/09/11: The GOP debate: America -- and the party -- needs the grown-ups
05/05/11: Mitch Daniels, an alternative to scary
05/03/11: Obama's victory lap
05/02/11: How the journalist prom got out of control
04/28/11: Obama's birther day: Why did he lower himself by appearing in the briefing room?
04/27/11: Obama, lost in thought
04/24/11: Andrew Breitbart and the rifts on the right
04/22/11: Ten Commandments for 2012
04/21/11: Obama likes Facebook. Facebook likes Obama.
04/18/11: Without Nancy Pelosi, Obama is adrift
04/15/11: If progressives ran the world
04/14/11: Faith in political apostasy
04/13/11: One man's revolution is another's political expediency
04/11/11: Shutdown theatrics
04/06/11: Paul Ryan's irresponsible budget
04/05/11: Robots in Congress? Yes, we replicant!
04/04/11: Robert Gibbs, Facebook and the White House corporate placement service
04/01/11: Haley Barbour, the fat cats' candidate
03/31/11: Republican freshmen in House shut down compromise, and possibly the government
03/30/11: Coburn and Durbin, the dynamic duo of the debt crisis
03/28/11: The Obama doctrine: A gray area the size of Libya
03/24/11: Dems as Weiners
03/23/11: Obama's quick trip from tyrant to weakling
03/17/11: Who's afraid of Elizabeth Warren?
03/15/11: The underwear flap over Bradley Manning
03/10/11: In Senate's debt debate, talk isn't cheap
03/09/11: With Obama's new Gitmo policy, Administration officials had some 'splainin to do
03/02/11: Issa press aide scandal is like bad reality TV
02/25/11: Jay Carney: Mouthpiece for an inscrutable White House
02/14/11: The Donald trumps the pols at CPAC
02/09/11: Arianna Huffington's ideological transformation


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