May 13, 2013
David G. Savage:
Church-state, literally? Supreme Court weighing public school graduation in a church
May 10, 2013
Rabbi Berel Wein: Be all that you should be
May 8, 2013
Peter Ford: Why China is welcoming both Israel's Netanyahu and Palestinians' Abbas
Obama administration quietly backs out of appeal over new contraceptive mandate
At Kerry-Putin meeting, US-Russia relations thaw --- a tad
The Kosher Gourmet by Leela Cyd Ross :
Almost too pretty to eat, this colorful salad with Sicilian inspiration will tickle the taste buds and delight your visual sensibility
May 6, 2013
May 3, 2013
Kids, kittens the Same?
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Artificial kidney offers hope to patients tethered to a dialysis machine
April 29, 2013
Poland's new Jewish museum celebrates life, doesn't revisit Holocaust
Terrorism in America: Is US missing a chance to learn from failed plots?
Boston Bomber's 'Svengali' Revealed
Tiny satellites + cellphones = cheaper 'eyes in the sky' for NASA
April 26, 2013
Clifford D. May:
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Sharon Palmer, R.D.:
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April 24, 2013
Admit it: No one has any idea what's going on
April 22, 2013
US man departing country arrested on terror charges
An unorthodox but growing treatment in a 9-year-old's battle against cancer
April 19, 2013
Caroline B. Glick:
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Gold collapse: The start of something big?
Livable super-Earths? Two candidates among Kepler's latest finds
April 17, 2013
Too much of a good thing? 'Palestinians' realize downside of foreign aid boom
BAD NEWS: EVERYONE IS RIGHT!
April 15, 2013
Egyptian Christians respond with harsh words to attack -- rocks, Molotov cocktails, and gunfire -- against main cathedral
Marcy Darnovsky and Karuna Jaggar:
High Court to decide if you should own your DNA
US bracing for more Russian blowback after taking action against 18 more human rights violators
April 12, 2013
New cybersecurity bill: Privacy threat or crucial band-aid?
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom:
The Kosher Gourmet by Susan Russo:
Jackie Robinson's Friend, Hank Greenberg; CNN's Jake Tapper; Texas County in the News is named for 19thC. Jewish soldier and Congressman
FRUITY QUINOA STUFFED PEPPERS: A flavorful, colorful and edible vessel of delicately fluffy, mildly nutty filling combined with chewy apricots, tangy cherries, and crunchy pistachios
April 10, 2013
North Korean missiles: Could US shoot them down?
Warning: Don't waste your capital being fooled by profit prophets
Donald Hensrud, M.D.:
Mayo Clinic Medical Edge: Take vitamin supplements with caution --- even approved, they may actually do damage
74 DNA discoveries move cure closer for three cancers
April 8, 2013
Jonathan Tobin: What Part of No Preconditions Do American Jews Not Get?
Is Putin finally trading his own party for a new power base?
Jewish World Review
Sept. 21, 2008
21 Elul 5768
Bailout on wheels
In the 1994 elections, Republicans ended 40 years of Democratic control of the House of Representatives. So in 1995, a vice president of Fannie Mae wrote a letter to Ed Crane, president of the Cato Institute, saying that Fannie Mae intended to give that libertarian, free-market think tank a $100,000 grant.
Politics produced Fannie Mae. It was created by the government in 1938 to further the government objective of increased homeownership. It was sold semi-privatized, sort of for a political purpose: to help President Lyndon Johnson finance the Vietnam War. Fannie Mae has no objection to interventionist government; the regulatory state created and cosseted it. And it has always known which side its bread is buttered on on both sides, by taxpayers, through the implicit federal guarantee of Fannie Mae's obligations.
But in 1995, Fannie Mae, attempting to ingratiate itself with conservatives, approached Cato with cash, thereby proving that it understands libertarianism no better than it understands subprime mortgages. When Crane responded that Cato never accepts government funding, he received a starchy letter from Fannie Mae hotly denying that it was in any way a government entity.
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Well. The implicit federal guarantees which enabled Fannie Mae and another "government-sponsored entity," Freddie Mac, to swell up with more than 11,000 employees and $5 trillion in mortgages have become explicit. Was Fannie Mae cynical or delusional in 1995? As government entanglement with our less-and-less-private enterprise system increases faster than at any time since the 1930s, remember: Good fences make good government fences that clearly demarcate the border between the public and private sectors.
The Financial Times, which is not normally droll, recently began a story: "Tim Geithner is without doubt the most active investment banker on Wall Street these days." He is president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The deals that he and other government officials have brokered, with the backing of government money, may be prudentially necessary because failures of certain financial institutions might congeal the flow of credit that must lubricate recovery. What, however, is the excuse for the corporate welfare for GM, Ford and Chrysler?
Ford's assembly plant in Louisville is participating in that corporation's struggles. The Toyota plant in Georgetown, Ky., is flourishing as part of the other American auto industry. It is located largely in the South, employs 92,000 Americans, and is not in the toils of the cost structure Ford and GM negotiated with the United Auto Workers union. Lemon socialism the subsidization of the weak is supposedly needed lest a U.S. automaker file for bankruptcy, causing the sort of civil disorder and social chaos that accompanied the disappearance of Studebaker, Packard, American Motors and others.
Detroit is striking for subsidies while the iron is hot while the 37 electoral votes of two automaking states, Ohio and Michigan, hang in the balance. Where is the "partisan rancor," which John McCain deplores, now that we really need it? He and Barack Obama agree on the corporate welfare for the three Detroit mendicants. Obama perhaps believes that lemon socialism is better than no socialism at all. McCain, reacting viscerally, sees everything as a moral melodrama; his economic thinking, which really is nothing of the sort, owes more to Moses than to Adam Smith. In McCainism the politics of "honor" there are no mere mistakes; they must also be dishonorable, because corrupt.
Anyway, taxpayers have been conscripted into subsidizing $25 billion worth of government loans for Detroit, which says that sum is nice as an appetizer, but hardly a meal. It wants more.
General Motors' full-page newspaper ads brag that it (with the coerced cooperation of taxpayers) is "completely reinventing the automobile." This is no more convincing than GM's broadcast ads that say it is offering customers its employee discount "in celebration of our 100th anniversary." Celebration? Of what? The fact that a company hemorrhaging money must discount its products?
Detroit says, correctly, that some of its problems stem from fuel economy and other mandates imposed by the 535 automotive engineers on Capitol Hill. But that is beside the point, which is: No one thinks that the failure of an auto manufacturer would pose systemic risk to the economy. Americans would just buy a different mix of cars.
In "The Communist Manifesto," Karl Marx marveled that, such is capitalism's dynamism, "all that is solid melts into air." Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch should not be the last to learn the truth of that.
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