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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, 2013 / 21 Sivan, 5773

Unintended Consequences Often Bedevil Reformers

By Michael Barone




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | A thoughtful reformer targets the traditional rules of an aging institution that has retarded progress in the past. Time to modernize those rules, the reformer says, and prevent obstruction in the future.

The trouble is that such reform efforts often prove counterproductive. New rules strengthen rather than weaken the aging institution. Unintended consequences abound.

Three examples come to mind, the first from far away — the British House of Lords.

After Tony Blair's Labor Party was swept into office in 1997, it decided to reform the House of Lords. Its hereditary members were overwhelmingly Conservative and could outvote the appointed life peers of various parties.

The Lords could not veto legislation — it threatened to do so in 1910, and the power was taken away — but could delay or amend it, sometimes obstructing or frustrating the democratically elected House of Commons.

So Blair decided to take the vote away from all but 90 of the hereditary lords and appoint enough life peers so that no party would have a majority. He made that deal with the Conservative Party leader in the Lords, Robert Cranborne, in 1999.

As Cranborne (now the Marquis of Salisbury) predicted back then, the reform increased the power of the Lords. When Conservatives had an eternal majority, they were extremely reluctant to amend or delay legislation. It seemed outrageously unfair for one party to have such power.

But the current Lords, with no party in majority, has been much more eager to amend and delay. Threats to do so have pushed governments to make changes in the Commons to appease the Lords.

So the effort to reduce the Lords' powers enhanced them, instead.

Something similar has happened with the U.S. Senate's filibuster. In the 1970s, Sen. Walter Mondale, a thoughtful center-left politician like Blair, wanted to curb the power of the filibuster, which had made it so difficult to pass civil rights legislation in the 1950s and 1960s.

So he pushed to reduce the number of senators needed to end a filibuster from 67 to 60. The idea was to make it easier to defeat filibusters.

But it has also made filibusters much more common and sometimes more effective. A tactic used only occasionally by a defunct regional bloc (Southern segregationists) on an issue of great importance became a tactic used regularly by the minority party on more routine measures.

As with the House of Lords, if you make a power seem less menacing, it will be exercised on more occasions and for more purposes.

Some now urge that filibusters be abolished altogether or somehow restricted. The result is likely to be development of other devices available under Senate rules to achieve similar objectives.

There has been a similar phenomenon in the efforts over the years to limit the influence of money in electoral politics. Going back more than 100 years, Congress and state legislatures have tried to build dams to stop vast rivers of money flowing downstream into campaigns.

The result is that slowly moving rivulets are steered into other channels, then rush in vast torrents down slopes into supposedly forbidden landscape.

To switch from watery metaphor to legal analysis, there is an inevitable tension between campaign finance limitations and the First Amendment. Supreme Court justices may try to limit its protections to student armbands, nude dancing and flag burning. But its real purpose is to protect political speech — which costs money.

Much of the impetus for campaign finance limitations came from those who fear that the rich will give one party an insuperable advantage in election after election.

Half a century ago, Republicans seemed to have such an advantage. But those days are gone.

What has happened instead is that, as political spending has zoomed past intended limits, citizens acting on calculation or conviction have been donating about equal amounts to both parties.

In response to new restrictions, they do so increasingly without disclosure. So campaign finance reform has resulted in more money and less accountability.

Lesson: Unless you're prepared to abolish entirely the House of Lords (as Oliver Cromwell did in the 1650s) or the U.S. Senate, or ban private campaign spending, there's a good chance that any reform you make will exacerbate rather than alleviate the things you dislike.

Especially if you're refighting the battles of the past rather than anticipating how institutions will adapt to the future. Reform sometimes makes thing worse.

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JWR contributor Michael Barone is senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner.




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