In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
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 Dec. 5, 2007 / 225 Kislev 5768

Let the market solve our energy problems

By Robert Robb

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It's hard to imagine a sillier approach to energy policy than the one Congress is concocting. The recent experience with ethanol illustrates the problem with such silliness.

To jumpstart a market for domestic corn ethanol, Congress passed very generous tax credits for its production, erected tariffs against the importation of foreign ethanol and mandated that gasoline be blended with billions of gallons of the stuff.

The result, of course, has been a sharp rise in the price of corn. This has food producers and other farmers and ranchers angry, and even the Mexican government, which blames the ethanol mandate in part for the high cost of corn tortillas in its country.

And now environmentalists are beginning to question whether ethanol is such a good idea after all. It uses lots of land and water. And fertilizer, which increases the emissions of nitrous oxide, considered an even more destructive greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Burning gasoline mixed with ethanol increases ozone levels.

So, has Congress learned the lesson about the limitations on its ability to micromanage energy markets? Of course not. The bills under consideration offer a blizzard of subsidies (credits, loan guarantees, research grants, usage mandates) for a cornucopia of energy sources (wind, solar, hydrogen, biomass, nuclear).

There is even under consideration an increase in the ethanol mandate, although with some of it coming from President Bush's magical switchgrass rather than corn. Farm wastes seem to be the fuel source du jour. There are even subsidies for looking into generating energy from ocean waves.

Maybe we will surf to our energy future on ocean waves. I don't know. And the more relevant point is, neither do the members of Congress.

The silliness of all this is best seen by stepping back and contemplating what all these subsidies and mandates are supposed to accomplish. There are two problems that are cited as creating the exigent need for an energy bill. The country is excessively dependent on foreign oil. We emit too much of environmentally destructive greenhouse gases.

Both of these problems can be dealt with very directly, in ways that would be effective and efficient.

The extent to which the United States relies on foreign oil, particularly from the Middle East, is usually exaggerated. Persian Gulf oil supplies less than five percent of the overall energy consumption of the United States. The principal vulnerability is in the price of gasoline, not industrial production.

Nevertheless, if Congress believes that foreign oil imports represent an unacceptable strategic vulnerability, it can directly limit them. Declining import quotas could be adopted, reducing oil imports to whatever point Congress decides adequately diminishes the strategic risk.

Likewise, greenhouse gas emissions could be directly limited, either through a cap-and-trade program or, preferably, through a tax on carbon and other such gases.

That's all Congress would need to do. The American people spend nearly $900 billion a year making things run and go. The energy market is plenty big enough to attract private investment to meet the fuel needs of the country within whatever constraints the federal government imposes for security or environmental reasons.

Congress doesn't need to figure out the alternatives. The market will do that, more effectively and efficiently.

However, it will do that through the price mechanism, and therein lies the political problem. If Congress, for example, were to directly limit oil imports, the price of gasoline would go up. And people don't like that.

So, instead of directly and simply limiting supply, Congress is attempting to manage demand, through fuel efficiency standards and subsidies for alternative ways of making things run and go.

The problem is that while it may be within Congress's competence to decide that foreign oil imports are an unacceptable strategic risk or that the environmental damage of greenhouse gases needs to be limited, micromanaging the energy market response lies beyond its competence — as the ethanol story so amply demonstrates.

The American people will pay for the decisions one way or another — if not through rising fuel prices, then through higher food prices, less choice among automobiles or washing machines that don't really get clothes clean.

While Democrats are currently in charge of Congress, the silliness isn't limited to them. The energy proposals of President Bush and Republicans in Congress tend to be milder, but are similarly afflicted.

It would be far better for national leaders to just do directly what they think is important for the country, limit foreign oil imports and greenhouse emissions, and let markets and the American people figure out the rest.

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JWR contributor Robert Robb is a columnist for The Arizona Republic. Comment by clicking here.

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