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 April 29, 2008 / 24 Nissan 5768

Gross National Happiness

By Tom Purcell

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Happiness is in the data. That doesn't bode well for folks on the political left.

As it goes, Arthur Brooks, a Syracuse University economics professor and author of the new book "Gross National Happiness," began mining happiness data back in his college days.

The prevailing wisdom then, Brooks told me, was that liberal folks were happier — that conservatives were close-minded, rigid and therefore less capable of happiness.

But as he dug through the data, he found the opposite to be true: Conservative Americans are nearly twice as likely to report being "very happy" as are liberals.

Why such a big happiness gap? Brooks said it has to do with worldview.

Conservatives hold more traditional values — faith, marriage, family, freedom, hard work. They believe in the individual and just want to be left alone. Like them or hate them, the traditional values they hold, the data show, are a source of happiness.

Liberals, on the other hand, are not as likely to marry, have children or go to church. They're far more likely to feel exploited by others. Lacking control over one's environment is a source of unhappiness.

Which ties into the presidential election.

Brooks said that both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have run campaigns based on grievance. Their appeal is to folks who feel victimized by social and economic forces — folks who want the government to impose more rules, regulations and mandates on the people who make them unhappy.

That's not to say Republicans haven't been guilty of a similar game. Brooks is quick to point out that they, too, used the largess of the federal trough to promise voters goodies in return for their votes.

That's the problem with elections.

"They're based on the assumption of unhappiness," he said. "Politicians focus on perceived wrongs rather than the things that are going well. Americans take for granted how well things really are going. Our economy may have slowed, but it is roaring compared to past economic downturns."

Nonetheless we focus on the negative and our politicians stoke our unhappiness all the more. They bribe us with our own money, promising to expand the government to address the grievances that they promote.

But we ought to be careful what we wish for.

As our government grows, you see, our freedom decreases, and one of the greatest sources of happiness is freedom — something else we take for granted in a country founded on the concept.

In any event, happiness is something to think about before you pull a lever in the voting booth. It's really this simple:

If you have a hopeful view of the future and wish to unleash the creativity and enthusiasm of the American spirit — if you want the government to stop taking so much of your money and stop meddling so much in everybody's lives — well, you're out of luck.

Sure, libertarian Ron Paul is promising to clamp down on government, but he doesn't stand a chance this fall. The only option is McCain, who is promising not to raise taxes or meddle with things as much as the Democrats.

And if you are pessimistic and believe that a free society allows nasty capitalists to exploit you and make you miserable, vote for Obama or Hillary. They promise to expand the reach of the federal government into every corner — they promise to monitor, intervene and punish.

But as the data show, more government equals less freedom and in the end you'll be made even less happy.

Obama gave us a perfect example. He knows that every time the capital gains tax is lowered, the government ends up receiving more revenue — this is because the lower rate gives more folks the incentive to risk their dough. And when they profit, so does the government.

Obama promises to raise the capital gains tax anyhow — he promises to punish citizens and the government and ultimately slow down economic growth — because doing so would be "fair."

Yeah, that's what we need more of: politicians and the government, not individuals, deciding what is fair in America.

That ought to make you happy.

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.

Comment on JWR Contributor Tom Purcell's column, by clicking here. To visit his web site, click here.


© 2007, Tom Purcell