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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 Nov. 26, 2012 / 12 Kislev, 5773

It's time to cut a deal on the budget

By A. Barton Hinkle




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | According to received wisdom, Washington needs to hash out a budget deal to avoid the "fiscal cliff" that is partly the result of another deal, the Budget Control Act of 2011, which imposed automatic spending cuts if the congressional supercommittee on deficit reduction could not reach its own deal. Which, as things turned out, it couldn't.

Economists say letting the cliff's cuts proceed at the same time the Bush tax cuts expire would be doubleplusungood, and Beltway officialdom appears to believe them. So we will soon find out if Chili Palmer was right in "Get Shorty," when he said, "Sometimes you do your best work with a gun to your head."

But first, the kabuki, in which the players stake out their initial bargaining positions. Like the opening bids at a Persian rug bazaar, those will be haggled down.

What should a final deal look like? There's the utopian version, and then there's reality.

The liberal utopia jacks up taxes on the dirty evil rich while leaving social-welfare spending untouched. The conservative utopia slashes spending on shiftless welfare slackers while leaving taxes unraised. But since conservatives hold the House and liberals hold the White House, neither one of these utopias will happen. Everybody will have to give something. Such as what?

(1) Tax hikes. There are sound reasons to oppose higher taxes: Tax receipts have returned to an almost historic high, and higher rates will lock in a long-term source of revenue to fuel government growth. But there is also a sound reason not to: The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were largely financed through debt. Fiscal conservatives should have insisted on pay-as-you go, but better late than never.

Anyway, Democrats hold all the cards. The Bush tax cuts will expire for everyone come Jan. 1. Republicans have a choice between half a loaf - restoring the cuts for some - or no loaf at all. Seems like an easy call. They can save face by negotiating the cutoff for higher rates. Virginia Sen.-elect Tim Kaine has suggested a compromise - $500,000 instead of the president's $250,000 - which amounts to a half-trillion dollars over 10 years. Republicans should accept.

(2) Defense cuts. Listening to conservatives caterwauling about defense cuts, you might get the impression they think government spending creates jobs or something. Of course, in all other instances they insist government bloat hurts the economy. Conservatives also lament the decline in defense spending relative to other budget categories - as though the Pentagon should get more money whenever social spending goes up, just to keep the ratios steady. They ignore the fact that as a proportion of world military spending, the U.S. accounts for 46 cents out of every dollar.

The fiscal cliff's cuts would trim the Pentagon by 12 percent, which would whack it all the way back to the appropriation levels of … 2007. Doesn't sound too catastrophic. A cut half that size would be even less so.

(3) Social-welfare cuts. In recent years social-welfare spending, already gargantuan, has exploded. It's up more than 40 percent just since President Barack Obama took office. At more than half a trillion dollars, Medicare alone approaches the size of the defense budget - and unlike defense, will see its outlays nearly double by 2020. Food-stamp enrollment also has spiked under Obama - yet as the journal National Affairs points out, "among recipients of federal food-stamp benefits, there are more people above the poverty line than below it." Ditto Medicaid: "Most … beneficiaries are over the poverty line." Starting next year, Obamacare's health-insurance subsidies will be available to those earning up to four times the federal poverty level. There's a word for countries that give ever-bigger benefits to an ever-increasing pool of recipients: bankrupt.

(4) Spending cuts generally. Obama's "balanced" approach actually is tax-heavy - which gets things exactly backward. As Harvard's Alberto Alesina explains in City Journal, data from the International Monetary Fund show that "when governments reduce deficits by raising taxes, they are indeed likely to witness deep, prolonged recessions. But [reducing deficits through] cutting spending resulted in very small, short-lived - if any - recessions." That's owing to "private investment. … Private-sector capital accumulation rose after the spending-cut deficit reductions, with firms investing more in productive activities - for example, buying machinery and opening new plants. After the tax-hike deficit reductions, capital accumulation dropped."

Bottom line: "Tax-based deficit reduction … is always recessionary." That point should swing a lot of weight just now, when Congress and the White House are trying to cut the deficit without cutting off the fragile recovery. There are good deals and there are bad deals. We've had quite enough of the latter for now.

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.

A. Barton Hinkle is Deputy Editor of the Editorial Pages at Richmond Times-Dispatch Comment by clicking here.


Previously:




11/20/12: The case for a carbon tax
11/15/12: Cue the hysterics. Reports of Democracy's Death Greatly Exaggerated
11/07/12: The $4,000 Trash Can: We need regulation, but not this much
10/23/12: The Ballad of Islamist Rage Boy
10/17/12: Undermining the values that enable people in poverty to escape it? Sadly, yes
10/11/12: How Much Is This Tax Cut Gonna Cost Me, Doc?
10/04/12: Warrantless spying skyrockets under Obama
08/20/12: The wrong side absolutely must not win
08/14/12: America was not built on dirt alone
08/02/12: Libs Discover Their Inner Cheney
07/30/12: Feds want to help you --- whether you want help or not
07/23/12: Barack Obama, Storyteller-in-Chief
07/23/12: Nation's worst outsourcer? You
07/19/12: Listen up, America: You need to knuckle under
07/12/12: Obama, Romney: As Different as Two Peas in a Pod
07/05/12: Are teenagers big children --- or little adults?
06/25/12: Minorities treated as mere numbers
06/21/12: Memo to the the Little Guy: Seemingly innocuous activity could bring the federal hammer down out of a clear blue sky
06/19/12: We mustn't let America be buffaloed
05/31/12: Drop and Give Uncle Sam 20
05/15/12: The feds would like to know if you enjoyed that video
05/03/12: Obama inspires: 'America --- Still Not as Bad Off as Venezuela!'
04/26/12: It's everyone's favorite time of year again
03/29/12: GOP disillusionment is a good thing
03/27/12: Just what America needs: more red tape
03/20/12: Nation wondering: what happening to language?
02/21/12: Culture warriors resort to propaganda
02/15/12: Step away from that cookie and grab some air
02/08/12: Lessons in heresy
02/01/12: Do We Really Need Pickle-Flavored Potato Chips?
01/11/12: Shut up, they explained
12/30/11: A Modest Proposal: Let's Ban All Sports!
12/26/11: A Christmas letter from the Obamas
02/24/11: Will the next Watson need us?
12/24/10: Here Are Some Good Gifts for People You Hate
06/15/10: The Presinator
05/26/10: More than equal
04/08/10: Angry Right Takes a Page From Angry Left but guess who is ‘ugly’?
02/16/10: Either Obama owes George W. Bush an apology, or he owes the rest of us a very good explanation for his about-face on wiretapping
02/03/10: Talkin' to us 'tards
01/27/10: I never thought I'd see the day when progressives would howl in ragebecause the Supreme Court said government should not ban books
01/07/10: Gun-Control Advocates Play Fast and Loose
12/31/09: Nearly everything progressives say about neoconservative interventionism abroad applies to their own preferred policies at home





© 2011, A. Barton Hinkle

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