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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 Jan 5, 2012/ 10 Teves, 5772

Pull the parachute

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | A year ago this week, just two days before being shot by a deranged assailant in her district, Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords introduced legislation to cut congressional salaries by 5 percent, from $174,000 to $165,300.

Needless to say, the bill didn't become law -- the last time the House and Senate actually trimmed their members' pay was during the Great Depression. Yet there are few things Congress could do that would be more certain to win public esteem. In a national poll commissioned last month by The Hill, a Washington newspaper, 67 percent of voters said lawmakers should be paid less. With Congress's approval rating barely above single digits, and with so many Americans feeling the sting of a weak economy, you might think support for a modest one-time pay cut would be a no brainer -- especially since congressional pay has been hiked 10 times since 1998.

Yet legislation to curb Congress's outlandish pay and perks rarely gets far on Capitol Hill. The relatively few members willing to make noise about the issue are not rewarded with the love of their colleagues. Former Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin once told me he got "the coldest stares" whenever he introduced legislation to block congressional pay hikes from kicking in automatically. Sometimes his colleagues would try to change his mind, Feingold said. "They tell me about their kids' tuition. Or they say, 'Don't you think you're worth more money?'" He would respond that if they thought they deserved an increase, they should be willing to openly vote for one.

Feingold left Congress last year, but other lawmakers have taken up the cause. Representative Mike Coffman of Colorado -- who is as conservative a Republican as Feingold was a liberal Democrat -- last month introduced a bill that would ban "stealth" pay hikes by preventing any congressional pay raise from taking effect unless members of Congress first cast a recorded vote. Another Coffman bill would cut congressional salaries by 10 percent.

Coffman's top priority for reforming Congress, however, is H.R.2913, which would end the gold-plated congressional pension plan enjoyed by members of Congress. Of all the ways in which members of Congress reward themselves, none is as lucrative as their defined-benefit pensions, a perk more lavish than anything most private-sector workers will ever see.

Under the current system, senators and representatives can collect an annual pension worth 1.7 percent of their present salary for every year they serve in Congress up to 20 years, plus an additional 1 percent for each year beyond that. With congressional pay now at $174,000, a member of Congress who retires after just six years can thus look forward to receiving more than $17,700 a year for life beginning at age 62. (That doesn't include the generous cost-of-living adjustments -- another benefit unavailable to most private-sector retirees.) A 20-year congressional veteran would collect more than $59,000 a year -- and the payments begin at age 50. For members elected before 1984, there is an even more generous setup.

And how much of their salary do incumbent senators and representatives contribute to this sumptuous pension plan? A puny 1.3 percent. (They also participate in Social Security, and are eligible for a 401(k)-style plan, neither of which would be affected by Coffman's bill.)

It's a mighty nice deal if you can get it -- between twice and three times as munificent as pensions offered to similarly-salaried workers in the corporate world, according to the National Taxpayers Union. For the most part, mere mortals like us -- who are, of course, paying for Congress's lifestyle with our taxes -- can only gape from the sidelines.

A veteran of both the Army and the Marine Corps, Coffman says his military training instilled in him a fundamental leadership principle: Never order someone else to do something you would not be prepared to do yourself. "For us to navigate out of this economic crisis that we're in," he told me yesterday, "we're going to have to make tough decisions that will affect other people's pay and benefits. To say that Congress is somehow immune to sacrifice is just wrong."

So far Coffman has rounded up 15 cosponsors for his pension bill, with new ones joining at about one per week. He expected to have more backing from colleagues who ran as fiscal conservatives, but he is confident that public pressure will bring them around.

Congress must set an example, he says, and ending its rich pensions is the way to set it. "Either incumbents sign on, or they're going to be giving their opponents some serious leverage."

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.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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