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Jewish World Review Feb. 13, 2002 / 2 Adar, 5762

Tony Snow

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Musings -- A GROUP of scientists in England has declared that the human race has reached the end of the evolutionary chain. Steve Jones, a professor at University College London, says, "Things have simply stopped getting better, or worse, for our species."

He claims we have lost the secret to earlier evolution -- premature death, which obliterated inferior genes and preserved stronger bloodlines. What we call medical progress, Jones calls stagnation.

He believes trends and fads will come and go, as always, but the genome will not. Now there's a silver lining in his prophecy, however. Many of Jones' colleagues think well, he's a nut, albeit entertaining.

And they may have a point. Consider: the poor fellow hails from an island nation that in recent years has produced such oddities as the Spice Girls, that nasty woman from the Weakest Link and the present generation of the royal family.

If you grew up looking at such specimens, wouldn't you conclude that human progress had come to a sudden and depressing end?

The United States Senate has decided not to vote on any kind of economic stimulus legislation this year. Democrats wanted to pump extra money into new government programs. Republicans wanted to prime the pump with tax cuts and ne'er the twain shall meet.

Financial markets greeted the news with a giant yawn, mainly because nobody expected Congress to act, anyway and because the legislation was such a mishmash of pork-barrel projects and targeted tax giveaways that they would have proven a boon only to lawyers and accountants.

For all the talk of helping the little guy, Congress was primed to do what it always does in such cases -- send your money and mine to Mr. Big, while taking care to say nasty things about special interests. I say good riddance to the bills.

The stimulus packages were more likely to stimulate cynicism than prosperity. Now, all of us can stay focused on the important task of working hard, saving, investing -- and when things turn around, workers, not politicians, will get the credit.

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