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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 January 7, 2008 / 29 Teves, 5768

Congress allocates money for nearly 9,000 new earmarks. But no law says Bush has to spend it

By John H. Fund


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | This week President Bush will make one of the most important decisions of his remaining time in office. It won't get headlines or lead the news, but it could play a major role in deciding whether this country ever gets any kind of grip on the constantly growing federal budget.


Just before Christmas, Congress sent Mr. Bush a $516 billion omnibus spending bill stuffed with 8,993 special-interest earmarks. To make matters worse, most of the earmarks aren't even in the language of the law itself. They were slipped into a 900-page "committee report" that represented the wish-lists of the Senate and House appropriations committees. Almost no one got a chance to read that report before the budget was passed late at night and with barely a day for members to review it.


Mr. Bush agreed to sign the budget but said he was disappointed at Congress's failure to overcome its earmark addiction. He announced he was asking his budget director, Jim Nussle, "to review options for dealing with the wasteful spending in the omnibus bill."


What Mr. Bush knows, and Congress doesn't want the taxpayers to know, is that the vast majority of the offending earmarks--the ones that aren't part of the actual budget law and were instead "air-dropped" into the committee report--aren't legally binding. A Dec. 18 legal analysis by the Congressional Research Service found that most of the committee reports have not been formally passed by both houses and "presented" to the President for signing, and thus have not become law. "President Bush could ignore the 90% of earmarks that never make it to the floor of the House or Senate for a vote," says Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, who has read the CRS report. "He doesn't need a line-item veto."


Federal agencies would still be obligated to spend the dollars appropriated by Congress. But they could use the money higher priorities that would benefit all taxpayers, rather than on favors for special interests or political donors. For example, the $700,000 for a bike trail in Minneapolis could be used to rebuild the collapsed bridge in that city and to strengthen others. In addition, under such an executive order, future earmarks would likely have to go through committee hearings and would receive much greater scrutiny and publicity than they do now.


This possibility led Old Bull members of Congress to call the White House, complaining that such a move would threaten its relations with the legislative branch and threatening retribution. But none of those complaints or threats were made publicly. Members know how unpopular earmarking is with voters, and they also know that Mr. Bush could easily turn the tables on them if they actually engaged in petty revenge over the loss of their budgetary toys.


Congressional appropriators pooh-pooh the importance of any earmark reform. They note that earmarks represent less than 1% of the federal budget and are often worthy projects. But earmarks have a budgetary impact far beyond their dollar cost. "They are a gateway drug on the road to spending addiction," says Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.


Earmarks have other damaging effects. Many members feel compelled to vote for bloated spending bills, fearing their local projects will be stripped out. They also have dramatically expanded lobbying. Lobbyists go client-hunting, telling municipal officials they can virtually guarantee an earmark. In 2006, more than 4,000 companies or local governments hired lobbyists to pursue earmarks, up from 1,865 in 2001. And as the cases of Jack Abramoff and Duke Cunningham demonstrated, earmarks by the thousands result in scandals by the dozens.


The White House is at a crossroads. "If Bush were to do the right thing on earmarks it would an attention-getting precedent that could make other budget reforms possible," says Alison Fraser, who heads up economic policy for the Heritage Foundation. "It's a legacy-building moment."


Her colleague at Heritage, director of congressional relations Mike Franc, pointed out in Human Events last week that Mr. Bush faces much the same kind of decision that Ronald Reagan did in 1981 when the air traffic controllers union struck the federal government. Reagan boldly fired all the controllers, "setting a standard for decisiveness and principled action that paid dividends" later on.


By taking similarly bold action now on earmarks, Mr. Bush would also be doing lawmakers a favor by forcing them to refocus their priorities. "When members of Congress invest their time in securing federal funds for sewer plants and bike paths in their districts, they are doing more than assuming a federal role for a local responsibility," says Sen. DeMint. "They are diverting our energy away it away from solving national problems and wasting it on the task of steering tax dollars back home. Earmarking results in a terrible waste of taxpayer money, but the greatest cost is the wasted opportunity to address serious national challenges."


Thomas Jefferson recognized the dangers of pork-barrel spending back in 1796, when he wrote James Madison that allowing Congress to spend federal money for local projects would set off "a scene of scramble among the members [for] who can get the most money wasted in their State; and they will always get most who are meanest."


Should President Bush decide to confront Congress on the issue of their unlawful earmarks, he would force everyone in Washington to look up from their parochial concerns. But if Mr. Bush blinks and issues a "recission order" that strips only the most egregious pork-barrel projects from the budget Congress sent him, it will be more than a lost opportunity. It will show that the power of the spending lobbies in Washington has grown so great that they can blithely ignore the Constitution and common sense as they go about their self-interested business.

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.

JWR contributor John H. Fund is author, most recently, of "Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.)

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