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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 Dec. 13, 2010 / 6 Teves, 5771

Why do the liberals rage?

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Liberals and Democrats have been melting down, blowing up, and freaking out over President Obama's agreement with Republican leaders to extend Bush-era tax rates for another two years. "An absolute disaster," fumes Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in an interview on MSNBC. "Anger of House Dems boils over," Politico reports. "An Odious Tax Deal," editorializes The New York Times. "Moral corruptness," seethes Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana.

"No amount of lipstick," roars a headline at Democratic Underground, "can make this pig of a deal acceptable."

Why is the left so furious?

I realize, of course, that liberals were against the Bush tax cuts from the start. I know that Obama vowed time and again to let those tax cuts expire for households earning more than $250,000 a year. He made that pledge as a candidate for president, and he was still making it on the campaign trail this fall. "We are ready . . . to give tax cuts to every American making $250,000 or less," the president said in Cleveland on Sept. 8. "For any income over this amount, the tax rates would just go back to what they were under President Clinton."

But Obama swore to end plenty of other Bush policies that nevertheless remain intact. Why aren't Democrats in a blind rage over the tens of thousands of US troops still deployed in Iraq? Or his extension of the Patriot Act? Or the ongoing rendition of terror suspects to third countries for interrogation?

Roll Call reported last week that liberal activists angry about Obama's compromise on tax cuts "crashed two phone lines at the White House" and are planning to do the same to the Senate. Why have they never overloaded the White House switchboard with calls protesting the continued use of the presidential signing statements for which Bush was so sharply criticized? Or warrantless wiretapping? Or the fact that Guantanamo still hasn't been shut down?

Of all the ways in which "George W. Obama" (as a Village Voice headline dubbed him in January) has disappointed his ideological supporters, why is it the prospect of not raising taxes on the wealthy that drives them into such a frenzy?

After all, it isn't as though Obama's deal with the GOP singles out the rich for a windfall. It is simply an agreement not to single them out for a loss. And it isn't as though the affluent don't already shoulder an income-tax burden disproportionately higher than their share of the national income. In 2008, the top 1 percent of tax filers accounted for 20 percent of all income earned that year, yet they paid 38.0 percent of all federal individual income taxes. The top 5 percent -- anyone making $160,000 and up -- earned 35 percent of the nation's personal income, but paid 59 percent of the taxes. Federal income tax rates are progressive to a fault. So why are "progressives" spitting nails at the thought of leaving those rates where they are?

In an interview on Tuesday, NBC's Andrea Mitchell demanded to know how Senator Judd Gregg, a New Hampshire Republican, could "justify going along with a larger tax cut, for those who really don't need it." Gregg replied: "Well, my view is: It's their money."

That would be my view, too -- and the view of most Americans, who are not conditioned to equate wealth with dispossession, and have not been raised to resent the rich. It's their money. Congress doesn't have to "justify" letting them keep it; it has to justify taking more of it away. The premise of Mitchell's question -- that government has the strongest claim on money the affluent "really don't need" -- strikes most non-liberals as not just wrong, but pernicious.

To the left, the opposite is true. "We have so many people who can't see a fat man standing beside a thin one," Ronald Reagan, a recovered liberal, said in a famous speech , "without coming to the conclusion the fat man got that way by taking advantage of the thin one." As long as there are have-nots, therefore -- and there will always be have-nots -- it is pernicious for government not to confiscate more wealth from the haves.

This envy and resentment, which liberals think of as sensitivity and compassion, are at the very core of the liberal conception of good government. That is why "tax cuts for the rich" gets them so emotional and angry -- and it only deepens their outrage that most Americans don't think the way they do. Hence the Democrats' apoplexy. And hence their unbridled fury at Obama for agreeing to a compromise that a majority of voters seem to like.

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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