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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 May 30, 2008 / 25 Iyar 5768

A Political Reality Check on the Economy

By Michael Barone


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "It's the economy, stupid," James Carville famously said during the 1992 campaign, when a young Bill Clinton was running against the other President Bush. The same could be said during this presidential campaign. The headlines are full of economic bad news — mortgage foreclosures, the collapse of an investment bank, higher gas and food prices, lower home prices. Voters routinely list the economy as their chief concern, and consumer confidence has sunk to low levels.


Yet at the same time the economic numbers are not so bad. A recession is defined as two quarters of contraction. But we haven't had one yet. The gross domestic product has grown, albeit by only 0.6 percent, in the past two quarters. As my U.S. News colleague James Pethokoukis blogged after the most recent numbers came in, "Dude, where's my recession?"


By any historic standard, our economic numbers are good, though possibly headed in a negative direction. April's unemployment was 5 percent — a figure that once upon a time was considered full employment. The Consumer Price Index was up 3.9 percent, largely due to price rises in energy and food; core inflation was 2.3 percent. Productivity was up 2.2 percent.


Those are numbers that would have been taken as a sign of very good times when I was growing up. Then we had recessions every four or five years, bad bouts of inflation in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1970s, and unemployment that sometimes surged to 10 percent nationally and to 15 percent in industrial states like Michigan. In contrast, we've had only two mild recessions since 1983, with a third now possible but not yet in view.


In those 25 years, we have had low-inflation economic growth more than 90 percent of the time — something never before achieved in American history. Alan Greenspan titled his memoir The Age of Turbulence, but the story he tells is one of the amazing resilience of the American economy. Hit by one shock after another — a stock market crash in 1987, currency meltdowns in Mexico in 1994 and in Asia in 1997, the collapse of Long-Term Capital Management in 1998, the September 11 attacks, and the Enron collapse in 2001 — our economy has adapted and kept growing.


In the America I grew up in, the political effects of economic issues were clear. Voters, most of whom had vivid memories of the Depression of the 1930s, tended to vote for Democrats when the economy sagged. Political scientists produced formulas for predicting elections that were based largely on macroeconomic indicators: If the economy was growing, the incumbent party's presidential candidate would win; if it was in recession, he'd lose. But those formulas don't work any more. If they did, Al Gore would have been elected by a comfortable margin in 2000.


The norm. Today, few voters remember the 1930s; the median-age voter has lived all his adult life in a period when low-inflation economic growth has become the norm. Voters take a good economy for granted and are enraged by any irritation. But who is to blame? The subprime mortgage crisis was brought about by policies encouraging homeownership supported by George W. Bush and members of Congress of both parties. Monetary policy is made by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who has bipartisan support.


Polls suggest votes are not moving in response to local economic conditions. Recent polls in Michigan, the No. 1 state in unemployment, show John McCain running even with Barack Obama, even though George W. Bush lost the state by 3 percent in 2004. And Obama is running much stronger than John Kerry did in Great Plains and Rocky Mountain states with very low unemployment. But then Obama is advocating fiscal and trade policies — higher taxes on high earners, more protectionism — which are the opposite of John F. Kennedy's and the same as Herbert Hoover's. Yes, the economy matters in politics but not in the way it used to.

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JWR contributor Michael Barone is a columnist at U.S. News & World Report. Comment by clicking here.




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