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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. 29, 2005 / 25 Elul, 5765

Big government deja vu

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It is 1965. You have just acquired a time machine. Eager to try it out, you set the controls to take you 40 years into the future. As the machine whirs its way through the fourth dimension, you find yourself thinking (of all things!) about politics.

In the America receding behind you, the president is Lyndon Johnson. The landslide winner of last year's election, he is forging ahead with his ''War on Poverty" and ''Great Society," spending billions of taxpayer dollars and creating vast new entitlement programs. His fellow Democrats control Congress and easily brush aside GOP complaints about creeping socialism and reckless federal spending.

The contrast between LBJ and Barry Goldwater, the Republican he defeated in November, could hardly be greater. A fiscal conservative, Goldwater had called for sharply reducing the federal government. He and his supporters wanted to end farm subsidies, privatize the Tennessee Valley Authority, and balance the federal budget. ''Our government continues to spend $17 million a day more than the government takes in," a Goldwater surrogate, former actor Ronald Reagan, had said in a fiery endorsement speech. ''We haven't balanced our budget in 28 out of the last 34 years."

The time machine slows to a halt. You climb out and set off to explore 2005. Many things have changed, you discover. The Cold War is over. Televisions broadcast in color. Motorists pump their own gas. The secretary of state is black — and a woman!

But one thing that seems familiar is budgetary politics. One political party is still running the show in Washington and still spending money as mindlessly as ever. The federal budget is now hundreds of billions of dollars in the red, and the national debt has soared to more than $7 trillion — well over $1.5 trillion of it added during the current presidential administration. The incumbent in the White House, a Texan named Bush, burns through money even more extravagantly than the Texan named Johnson you left behind in 1964. ''Excluding military and homeland security," the American Conservative Union notes in a statement, ''American taxpayers have witnessed the largest spending increase under any preceding president and Congress since the Great Depression."

In the wake of two hurricanes in the South, Bush and Congress plan to spend as much as $200 billion for relief and reconstruction. According to Dave Boaz of the Cato Institute, that is more than double what US taxpayers spent (in inflation-adjusted dollars) to rebuild Western Europe after World War II. When Bush is asked at a press conference, ''Who is going to have to pay for this recovery? And what's it going to do to the national debt?" he answers blithely: ''It's going to cost whatever it costs."

Fiscal conservatives are distressed by such irresponsibility. But when they propose to balance the whopping hurricane spending by cutting unnecessary outlays elsewhere, they are promptly slapped down. ''My answer to those that want to offset the spending is: Sure, bring me the offsets, I'll be glad to do it," says the House majority leader, Representative Tom DeLay. ''But nobody has been able to come up with any yet." Asked if that means that the federal budget has been trimmed of all fat, DeLay answers yes. ''We've pared it down pretty good."

The conservatives are aghast. ''Pared it down pretty good"? What about that bloated hog of a highway bill, they ask — the one with more than 6,300 porkbarrel ''earmarks" adding up to $24 billion? Couldn't some of those be repealed? Or the new Medicare drug benefit, the one projected to cost $1.2 trillion over the next decade? How about delaying it for a year? The Heritage Foundation, a Washington think tank, lists some of the duplication that lards the federal budget — 342 separate economic development programs, 130 programs for the disabled, 90 early childhood development programs, 75 programs to fund international education and training, and 72 federal programs dedicated to safe water.

From everywhere come suggestions of items to eliminate or reduce: Corporate welfare. Public financing of presidential campaigns. Amtrak. The National Endowment for the Arts. Agribusiness subsidies. Congressional pay raises. From largesse for an automotive museum in Ohio to the underwriting of bicycle paths in Massachusetts, there is no shortage of budgetary blubber that could be eliminated. But Bush, who has never vetoed a single bill, shows no interest in fiscal self-control. And neither does the leadership in Congress, a crew of wastrels next to whom the LBJ Democrats of 40 years ago were penny-pinching skinflints.

Suddenly, with a start, you realize something astonishing: Bush is actually a Republican. The House and Senate are controlled by Republicans. They may walk and talk and spend like old-time Democrats, but in fact they belong to the GOP. Somewhere along the way, the heirs of Goldwater and Reagan became clones of Johnson and Hubert Humphrey. The party of fiscal sobriety turned into a gang of reckless big spenders.

You wonder: Is this kind of profligacy inevitable when either party controls all the levers of power? Is the body politic no healthier under a Republican monopoly than it was during all the years of Democratic monopoly? If so, Lord Acton was right: Unchecked and unbalanced, power inevitably corrupts.

Shaking your head sadly, you return to the time machine and set the controls for 1965.

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

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