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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
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 Oct. 9, 2008 / 10 Tishrei 5769

Regrettably, neither of the presidential hopefuls has a grasp on economic theory

By Jonathan V. Last


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The first three weeks of the financial crisis were no time for recriminations - so important was it to focus on passing a bailout plan to keep the credit markets from seizing up.

Well, the first bailout proposal died in the House, the executives who drove Lehman Bros. into the ground still stand to collect their $2.5 billion in bonus checks, and the credit markets are still functioning. So perhaps it's time to start pointing some fingers.

The most obvious target is President Bush. It's important to note that Bush didn't do anything to cause the crisis. His were sins of omission.

He appointed two middling managers to lead the Treasury Department. And he refused to deal seriously with oil prices after 9/11, when it became clear that U.S. military action (albeit necessary) would create long-term uncertainty in the market.

The gas crunch put the economy on edge, but the fundamental problem was the subprime-lending spree of the last decade and the trade in mortgage debt, which amplified the effects of defaulted loans.

Again, none of this was Bush's doing. But the president sat idly by while the entire housing industry plotted its own destruction. Banks made ridiculous loans to people who had no way of repaying them. Worse, the banks then sold and resold the loans as "investments," spreading the contagion. The consequences of this foolishness were not impossible to predict.

And not only did President Bush do nothing; he actually lauded the irresponsible spree. He praised programs designed to give mortgages to families with bad credit.

One of the boasts of his 2004 campaign was the record level of home ownership, particularly among lower-income people - who couldn't afford the homes they had bought. He mistook a symptom of economic sickness for a sign of economic health.

Democrats were no better. They attacked anyone who questioned the bad loans being facilitated by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, or who proposed reforming those institutions. In 2002, for instance, Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., called the companies "great assets." In 2003, Frank insisted that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac "are fundamentally sound financially and (can) withstand some of the disaster scenarios." Oops.

And where do we go from here? Neither of the two men who would be president has a firm grasp of economic theory. McCain's economic advisers include men such as Jack Kemp, Phil Gramm and Peter Peterson, whose worldviews completely contradict each other.

Another of McCain's economic advisers is Kevin Hassett, whose biggest claim to fame is having co-written the remarkably unprescient book "Dow 36,000: The New Strategy for Profiting from the Coming Rise in the Stock Market." Seriously.

Obama might be worse. He is campaigning on a promise of massively increased government spending. (McCain, at least, is committed to cutting spending.)

Obama's theory is that he'll gin up more revenue by increasing taxes on businesses - apparently not understanding that businesses both employ and trade with consumers. Most businesses faced with higher taxes will pass the cost on, either in reduced wages, reduced spending on capital goods, or higher prices.

Obama gave a sense of his economic priorities during last week's debate. Asked what he'd be willing to give up to pay the tab on the $700 billion bailout, Obama refused to name a single program. Instead, he listed areas in which he wanted to increase government spending - and not just on giant-ticket items such as government health care.

"There are some programs that are very important that are underfunded," Obama said. For instance: "I want to increase early-childhood education." Faced with the greatest financial crisis in 80 years and a gaping hole in the budget, Obama won't even hold the line on preschool spending.

As to the government spending being debated in Congress this week, there are compelling arguments in favor of a $700 billion bailout of the financial industry. The best of them is that - cosmic unfairness aside - it'll cost taxpayers more in the long run if the crisis isn't put to rest now. So why is the public so opposed to a bailout?

Perhaps because Washington's rescue effort is characterized by the same unseriousness that contributed to the calamity. And because, when it comes to economic seriousness, the next chief executive is not likely to represent much of an improvement.

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.

Jonathan V. Last is a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Comment by clicking here.


Previously:

09/22/08 Anti-abortion Democrats and global-warming Republicans are becoming increasingly important
09/09/08 On both sides, this year's political gatherings marked the start of changed strategies that have transformed the race
07/23/08 With policy shifts, Obama now seen as an ordinary pol
06/26/08 Bush failed to hold others responsible for their mistakes, and he let his admirable vice president do too much
02/18/08 GOP will unify as Obama and Clinton continue to vie
12/13/07 Fun begins as races tighten and shift
12/05/07 Iran's future: Would lower fertility rates lead to stability?
11/01/07 Nobel Prize in Economics — where Team USA still dominates the game
10/25/07 Handicapping the GOP's presidential horse race
10/11/07 Germany's Turks provide a lesson on immigration
09/13/07 British battle can offer us a perspective on casualties
09/12/07 Alas, GOP seems set to take hit in Senate
08/30/07 Europeans have supplanted backbones with capitulation
08/24/07 Politics holds the key to ensuring a healthy growth in population
08/17/07 Finessing the Democratic center
08/10/07 Woohoo! Satire seeing a revival
07/31/07 Historical model: For Obama, it's Carter
07/26/07 Baseball, apple pie, a 2nd chance
07/24/07 Harry Potter and the alchemy theory
07/06/07 Life is hard — and often short. The perils of professional wrestling
06/21/07 After Bush: Gingrich and others worry that his shortcomings could have a far-reaching effect on the GOP
03/09/07 Why the British outclass us in acting
01/23/07 Romney: Seriously great, but with baggage
12/23/06 When truth is transpicuous
12/05/06 A realistic plan: Split the country in two
11/08/06 We could easily pull out of Korea and let China have regional hegemony. But would it be the right thing?
10/24/06 The decline of revolution
10/18/06 Why the free market is king
08/07/06 Democracy, of itself, not solution to all problems
08/01/06 We get the movies we deserve
07/27/06 How long will U.S. empire last?


© 2006, The Philadelphia Inquirer. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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