In this issue
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. 24, 2008 / 25 Tishrei 5769

The financial crisis and triumph of spin

By Mona Charen

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The two candidates for president stood even in the polls when the financial tsunami hit around mid-September. Since then, the Democrat has pulled ahead.

Perhaps there was nothing John McCain could have done that would have changed things. It may be that voters are primed to blame the party in the White House for any bad news (to say "the party in power" when the Democrats control Congress is to say too much).

Or was it this? Democrats are so much better at placing blame. From the first moment that Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson warned of a freezing in credit markets, the Democrats, led by Barack Obama, were ready with an explanation that was partisan, simple, and wrong. It was trickle-down economics. It was resistance to regulation. It was, in short, Republicanism that had brought on the crisis. Nancy Pelosi, in a statement on the House floor before the first rescue bill was voted upon, condemned what she called the "Bush recklessness the anything goes economic policy. No regulation. No supervision. No discipline."

But if the Bush administration's laissez-faire economics is responsible for the banking mess, why are France and Britain, both of whom heavily regulate their economies, in the same boat?

The drumbeat goes on. On Oct. 22, Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, continued the harangue: "The list of mistakes is long and the cost to taxpayers is staggering. Our regulators became enablers rather than enforcers. Their trust in the wisdom of the markets was infinite. The mantra became that government regulation is wrong. The market is infallible."

It's a plausible claim because Republicans do tend to have more faith in markets than Democrats. The Republicans had an answer. But to find it you needed to search the pages of the Wall Street Journal, or read conservative columnists, or listen to talk radio. It didn't come from McCain or Palin. They wasted crucial days decrying greed on Wall Street. And while you and I know that Wall Street is peopled by Obama-backing Democrats, most Americans think Wall Street is the home of Republicans in frock coats and bowler hats.

What they should have done is to point out that Democrats love to give things away. Voters know that this is true. The thing the Democrats were intent on giving away this time was mortgages to those who could not afford them. When the Bush administration (with the strong backing of John McCain) attempted to tighten regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — the Democrats' sandboxes — Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, and Barack Obama refused.

The McCain/Palin team should have driven home the idea that there is no free lunch, that when government attempts to create wealth by fiat — by simply declaring that "mortgages for everyone" is the new rule and let's not look too closely at how we pay for this — reality will catch up with you in the end.

Having firmly placed blame on the Democrats for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — the kernel of this disaster — McCain could have polished his maverick credentials by criticizing the Bush administration and some Republicans for the excessive spending they, too, indulged. The great sin this crisis has unveiled is that of excessive debt —government debt, to be sure, but also excessive personal debt. It would have been risky, but McCain would have looked statesmanlike if he had told voters that all of us must henceforth change our ways: from government relying on borrowing from foreigners to individuals running up charges on credit cards. He could have said that capitalism is the greatest engine of wealth creation the world has ever seen. But like democratic government, it requires discipline to succeed. By distorting the natural brakes on lending, Democrats disrupted the self-correcting mechanisms of an otherwise very successful system. Democrats, not Republicans, sought to privatize the rewards (think Franklin Raines, Jim Johnson, Chris Dodd, Jamie Gorelick, and all of the Democrats who got fat campaign contributions from Fannie and Freddie) and socialize the risks of home mortgages.

Then McCain should have pointed out that Barack Obama has relied on style (aloof and cool) not substance in his response to the financial crisis. He may impress voters by his demeanor, but his promised actions (higher taxes, trade protectionism, more unionization of the workforce, and much more government spending) are the very policies that can transform an economic downturn into a depression.

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 JWR contributor Mona Charen's column by clicking here.

Mona Charen Archives

© 2006, Creators Syndicate