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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 Sept. 15, 2008 / 15 Elul 5768

Seeing through Obamanomics

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | All through the spring and summer, opinion polls tracked a growing confidence that Barack Obama could handle the economy better than John McCain. Just before the Democratic convention in August, Gallup had Obama leading McCain on the economy, 54-38 - a 16-point margin. But now Obama's lead has nearly vanished. Gallup's latest numbers show the candidates nearly tied. Just 48 percent say Obama would be more adept at superintending the economy; 45 percent choose McCain.


Looks like voters have started paying attention to Obama's economics.


On Sept. 8, Fox News broadcast an interview between Obama and Bill O'Reilly that focused on taxation and the economy. Obama repeated his pledge to cut taxes for 95 percent of Americans, while raising taxes on the tiny fraction who earn more than $250,000.


"That's class warfare," O'Reilly objected. "You're taking the wealthy in America, the big earners . . . you're taking money away from them and you're giving it to people who don't. That's called income redistribution. It's a socialist tenet. Come on, you know that."


"Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill," Obama replied. "Teddy Roosevelt supported a progressive income tax." He acknowledged that he doesn't enjoy paying taxes either - "you think I like writing the check?" - but that "there are certain things we've got to do." His tax proposal, he explained, was a matter of civility:


"If I am sitting pretty and you've got a waitress who is making minimum wage plus tips, and I can afford it and she can't, what's the big deal for me to say, I'm going to pay a little bit more? That's neighborliness." If that is Obama's rationale for making the tax code even more steeply progressive than it already is, it's no wonder voters are having second thoughts about his economic aptitude.


"Neighborliness." Perhaps that word has a nonstandard meaning to someone whose home adjoined the property of convicted swindler Tony Rezko, but extracting money by force from someone who earned it in order to give it to someone who didn't is not usually spoken of as neighborly. If Citizen Obama, "sitting pretty," reaches into his own pocket and helps out the waitress with a large tip, he has shown a neighborly spirit. But there is nothing neighborly about using the tax code to compel someone else to pay the waitress that tip.


Taxation is not generosity, it is confiscation at gunpoint. Does Obama not understand the difference?


Perhaps he doesn't. Eager though he may be to compel "neighborliness" in others, he has not been nearly so avid about demonstrating it himself. Barack and Michelle Obama's tax returns show that from 2000 through 2004, when their adjusted gross income averaged nearly a quarter of a million dollars a year, their annual charitable donations amounted to just $2,154 - less than nine-tenths of 1 percent. Not until he entered the US Senate in 2005 and began to be spoken of as a presidential possibility did the Obamas' "neighborliness" become more evident. (In 2005-2007, they gave 5.5 percent of their income to charity.)


Obama claims his proposal would lower taxes for 95 percent of Americans, but well over 43 million tax returns, one-third of all those filed, already reflect an income tax liability of zero. In fact, Obama says, his plan would eliminate income taxes for an additional 10 million taxpayers. What he is really proposing, therefore, is not tax relief but a bald transfer of cash - $1,000 per family, he pledges - from the wealthiest Americans to everyone else. In 1972, George McGovern advocated something similar - a $1,000 "demogrant" for every US citizen. Just last year, Hillary Clinton suggested that the government start off every new baby with a $5,000 savings account. Voters didn't take the bait when McGovern and Clinton offered it. Here's betting they won't take it now.


Why not? Because you don't have to be rich to be skeptical when a candidate argues that the top 1 percent of taxpayers, who already pay 40 percent of federal income taxes, aren't being taxed enough. Nor do you have to be an economist to wonder about the grasp of a nominee who tells 95 percent of the public that they can have something for nothing. Obamanomics may look pretty at first glance. But voters are focusing more closely now, and they can see beyond the lipstick.

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

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