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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 Feb. 26, 2008 / 20 Adar I 5768

Economic woes

By Cal Thomas


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | If you believe big media, the economy is in trouble. If you worry about job layoffs and your inability to pay bills, you may be thinking about voting for Democrats this fall, which is the point of the negative media coverage. Every four years when a Republican is president, big media carry stories about economic gloom and doom. But is it true? It depends on the standard you use.


Last week, The Washington Post carried a story that is a metaphor for what ails us. It was about a Maryland couple whose mortgage lender took back what remained of a $95,000 home equity line of credit. The lender explained that the couple's home had fallen in value and it did not want to shoulder the risk that they might owe more than the house was worth. The couple was using the equity line to pay preschool tuition for their twins.


A good financial adviser might have helped them avoid this predicament, but we are immediately led to the supposedly bottomless well of the federal government. Politicians, especially Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, pledge to shoulder the responsibility of making sure that people whose mortgages are higher than they can reasonably afford and whose debts are larger than they should be get bailed out by the rest of us who made right financial decisions and practice living within our means. I know, this sounds cold, but only to those who live this way.


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Lenders across the country are pulling the plug on equity lines and tightening credit after a lending spree to people for whom the housing market was their pot of gold.


Much of this economic "pain" is self-inflicted. Rather than purchasing homes they could not afford — or putting too much down, making them cash poor — they might have invested their equity in balanced mutual funds (the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 11.59 percent over a 10-year period). Such a path could have avoided the tight spot in which many now find themselves.


Some of the lust for bigger and better is human nature, but a lot is the result of consumerism. The Timex watch is no longer enough. We now must have a Rolex, though both accurately tell time. The adequate low-end automobile is insufficient. We must trade up to a luxury car with numbers and letters on the rear that mean nothing, but convey "status." And the house we are living in, which would have been more than adequate for our parents and certainly our grandparents, must be upgraded to larger digs in order to impress, if not growing families, than enlarged egos.


When none of this brings the promised happiness and fulfillment, we turn to drink, or pills, or counselors, or divorce court and seek significance in new things and relationships on what quickly becomes a personal boulevard of broken dreams.


We can't say we haven't been warned about this endless pursuit of stuff. The writer of Ecclesiastes wrote, "Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. …As goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owner except to feast his eyes on them?" (Ecclesiastes 5:10-11)


When wants and needs are confused, desires become entitlements and politicians are afraid to tell people what they need to hear. Instead they tell them what they want to hear. Anger and envy result, as well as frustration with a political system that was not designed to indulge its citizens in their lusts or subsidize their greed.


Who will tell us that unending and expanding prosperity with home values constantly rising and a citizenry always able to afford them is a fantasy that is bound to end in heartache for those who buy into it?


The economy isn't bad. We are bad for believing that more is better and the most is best. We have an abundance of things, but a deficit of character. The economy is a false god, a golden calf. When this false god doesn't deliver, we complain to politicians who are happy to accept our faith in them to give us what we want — if we will only pledge to them our allegiance at election time.

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.


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Cal Thomas Archives

JWR contributor Cal Thomas is co-author with Bob Beckel, a liberal Democratic Party strategist, of "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America". Comment by clicking here.

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