In this issue

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 July 28, 2006 / 3 Menachem-Av, 5766

Trade talks in ruins — powerful farmers win; most others lose

By Michael Barone

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | This has been a big news week. Israel's campaign against Hezbollah in Lebanon continues into its third week, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice continues to resist calls to negotiate a cease-fire. Rep. Mike Pence and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison brought forward an immigration bill, with border enforcement and guest worker provisions, which may form the basis of a bill that is passable in both the House and the Senate. I've commented on Pence's approach before.

And the trade talks in Doha, Qatar have collapsed. Today, I'll concentrate on that last story.

"Collapsed" is a strong word, and news accounts stress that WTO trade talks have been revived after collapsing in the past. But things look pretty bleak. As yesterday's Wall Street Journal account (subscription required) put it,

India's commerce and industry minister, Kamal Nath, said the Doha Round is "definitely between intensive care and the crematorium," and negotiators predicted it would be months, or even years, before talks were restarted.

Trade negotiations are inevitably very complex, and I can't claim to be an expert at the details. But it appears to me that the chief sticking point has been agriculture. Business interests in the United States and the European Union want lower trade barriers in less-developed countries. But those countries, whose cause has been led by sophisticated negotiators from Brazil and India, want to export more farm products to the United States and the EU, and so have been seeking reductions or elimination of farm subsidies in those countries. The United States and the EU did make some concessions here; as the Journal account notes:

The breakdown in the talks could prevent poorer nations from cashing in on promises made to them since the Doha talks began. If a deal was reached, the U.S. and EU had agreed to end farm export subsidies by 2013, removing some of their advantage in competition with products from poor countries. The U.S. and EU agreed to admit imports from the world's poorest nations almost duty free. The EU said Monday it will honor this second commitment; the U.S. hasn't yet decided.

But the EU, at the insistence of France, refused to reduce agricultural subsidies enough to please Brazil and India. The United States agreed to more cuts, but again not enough. Here's a summary from an editorial in the Financial Times:

The stumbling block was a disagreement over agricultural protection: the U.S. was pressing for big reductions in tariff barriers, but others, fearing a flood of subsidised food, were unwilling to accept this unless the U.S. reduced its farm subsidies. The deeper cause is that the few who enjoy trade protection have proved far more politically effective than the majority who stand to gain from liberalisation and often do not realise it. If there is a future for free trade, that will have to change.

The tail wags the dog: Farming interests, although only a small part of the economy, have effectively killed a trade agreement that would have been beneficial to many more people. The persistence of farm subsidies in this country, and the much larger farm subsidies in Europe, are an example of how interests of the past have more political clout than interests of the present and future. Farm subsidies were created in the United States in the 1930s when 1 in 4 Americans lived on farms; they were created in post-World War II Europe, at the behest of the French, when a similar percentage of people lived on farms in France. They persist, even though there are far fewer farmers. To this day, in the Iowa caucus campaigns, you hear presidential hopefuls of both parties swear up-and-down that protecting the family farm is a national priority. In France, the talk is how farm subsidies preserve the lush open countryside that covers so much of the country.

But anyone who gets to know Iowa or la France profonde learns that most of the people living in the countryside actually commute to jobs in small towns or cities; farming is just a sideline, and what looks like farmland is functionally a vast horizontal suburb. However,interests of the past are typically better organized than interests of the future. Their arguments are familiar; all they have to do is hum a few bars and politicians will sing the whole tune.

You can see this in one of the worst policy mistakes of the Bush presidency?the 2002 farm bill. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Larry Combest, a representative from a cotton-growing district in west Texas, together with other Southern Republicans from subsidized-crop districts, put together a bill heavy on subsidies. The Senate Agriculture Committee chairman, Tom Harkin, spread federal money around by expanding conservation reserve programs that give money to producers of traditionally unsubsidized crops. George W. Bush decided to sign the mishmash that resulted, presumably on the grounds that nothing better could be expected from a conference committee run by Combest and Harkin. As it happened, Combest quit Congress a year later because his wife had some kind of conflict with her employer in Northern Virginia. If that conflict had been precipitated sooner, we could have saved billions in farm subsidies.

Now the House Agriculture Committee chairman is Bob Goodlatte, a free marketeer from a Virginia district with little in the way of subsidized crops. If Republicans retain their House majority, he'll keep that post when the farm bill comes up for renewal in 2007. Unfortunately, the Senate Agriculture Committee chairman is Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, a state with a lot of heavily subsidized cotton. And with the Doha round apparently off the table, the pressure to reduce subsidies will be off. Here are the last, disheartening paragraphs of the Wall Street Journalstory:

The suspension of the Doha talks takes steam out of a move to overhaul the way the U.S. subsidizes farmers. Many farm-state legislators have been dreading next year's debate of legislation that dictates which crops are subsidized and by how much. It would have pitted their loyalty to Mr. Bush's free-trade agenda —with the administration's offer to slash subsidies by 60% to win a trade agreement —against short-term interests of politically well-connected farmers.

Some farm-industry officials say the death of Doha — or a long delay in restarting the talks — greatly diminishes pressure on Congress to make big changes in farm programs next year.

Largely because of the trade stalemate, Rep. Mike Conaway, a Texas Republican, said Monday he expects to see "very little change in the mechanics" of crop subsidies. Mr. Conaway, who has many cotton farmers in his district, said that they "aren't unhappy with this result."

Sigh. That may be good news for affluent Texas cotton farmers, but it's dreadful news for farmers in beleaguered Third World countries and bad news for consumers in America and other advanced countries.

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Hard America, Soft America: Competition vs. Coddling and the Battle for the Nation's Future  

America is divided into two camps, according to U.S. News and World Reports writer and Fox commentator Michael Barone. No, not Red and Blue, though one suspects Barone may taint the two groups in the hues of the 2000 presidential election. Barone's divided America is one part Hard, one part Soft. Hard America is steeled by the competition and accountability of the free market, while Soft America is the product of public school and government largesse. Inspired by the notion that America produces incompetent 18 year olds and remarkably competent 30 year olds, Barone embarks on a breezy 162-page commentary that will spark mostly huzzahs from the right and jeers from the left. Sales help fund JWR.

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

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