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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 Feb. 4, 2009 / 10 Shevat 5769

Stimulus Used as a Stealth Package

By Ed Koch

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Email this article | Those in power under former president George W. Bush contributed to the economic rape of the country by declining to regulate Wall Street, allowing the economic debacle now unfolding which has devastated the country, bringing middle-class Americans to their knees economically with their jobs and savings vanishing with each passing day.

In the last days of the Bush tenure, his economic team tried to stem the economic tidal wave overwhelming the country with a team led by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson who failed miserably. Bush's team told us that the major problem was liquidity and that a bailout of the banks was absolutely necessary; otherwise the country would collapse into a great depression similar to that which ushered in the FDR administration. When the Congress which had rejected the first Paulson plan reversed itself out of sheer terror and voted for the $750 billion bailout, we found that six weeks later, Paulson was telling us buying the "toxic assets" of banks was no longer the way to go and instead we should give these banks more dollars to shore up their capital, which he did using half of the $750 billion that had been approved by the Congress for the bailout to secure liquidity. The man who we thought knew what to do gave those billions away without conditions and the banks chose to date not to lend, and instead buy other banks, pay dividends to shareholders and bonuses to their top executives and others who led them to failure.

The new team under President Obama has asked the Congress for an additional so-called stimulus bill, now at about $800 billion and still growing - with about $350 billion remaining and available to the Obama administration for use from the prior stimulus package. The administration has the power now or through laws that Congress could pass to make the banks lend and provide the needed liquidity. When I wrote to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on October 9, 2008 and asked why he didn't impose a requirement that the banks do their job to lend for which they were licensed - and only to those applicants who were creditworthy and at the same rate as the prior year, his response was, "...requiring directly that banks extend specified amounts of credit to creditworthy borrowers would entail many complications. For example, bank regulators would need to create an objective definition for determining which borrowers were creditworthy. Moreover, because the volume of banks' credit activities can fluctuate over time for a variety of reasons, including those over which they have no control (such as the rate of economic growth in their geographical regions), determining appropriate targets for individual banks' lending activities would be complex and potentially arbitrary. In addition, because of the very large number of banking institutions in the country - more than 8,000 - administering such a program would be extremely resource intensive."

Do Bernanke's objections make sense? Aren't those 8,000 banks monitored now? Let me suggest to the Obama administration how they should react to the current economic crisis:

1. Impose by executive order a requirement that all banks fulfill their obligations and lend money to creditworthy applicants. If the Obama administration does not believe it has the power to impose that requirement, then ask Congress for that power and in the interim, make it a condition of any loan program entered into by the banks under future bailouts.

2. Create a new court or use existing bankruptcy courts with the power to change the terms of mortgages. I suggest new courts as well as using the existing bankruptcy structure in order to avoid the need for bankruptcy on the part of the mortgagor because of the predatory lending practices used in the original mortgage. The New York Times editorial of February 2, 2009 states, the Obama administration has rejected the "bankruptcy fix" now "out of fear it would cause Republicans to delay or reject the package." If true, this is unbelievably foolish on the part of the administration. Finally, I am fearful that radicals in the Democratic Party who support programs such as healthcare and education reform that I have supported over the years will seek to impose those programs by fiat without Congressional hearings and laws, by inserting them in the stimulus legislation. On what do I base that fear? Here are two news reports.

A January 28, 2009 New York Times article by Robert Pear stated, "The stimulus bill working its way through Congress is not just a package of spending increases and tax cuts intended to jolt the nation out of recession. For Democrats, it is also a tool for rewriting the social contract with the poor, the uninsured and the unemployed, in ways they have long yearned to do. With little notice and no public hearings, House Democrats would create a temporary new entitlement allowing workers getting unemployment checks to qualify for Medicaid, the heath program for low-income people. Spouses and children could also receive benefits, no matter how much money the family had. In addition, the stimulus package would offer a hefty subsidy to help laid-off workers retain the same health plans they had from their former employers. Altogether, the economic recovery bill would speed $127 billion over the next two and a half years to individuals and states for health care alone, a fact that has Republicans fuming that the stimulus package is a back door to universal health coverage...As Congress rushes to inject cash into a listless economy, it is setting aside many of the restraints that have checked new domestic spending for more than a decade. The White House said the changes contemplated by Congress would provide coverage for nearly 8.5 million newly uninsured people who had lost their jobs and would protect Medicaid for many more whose eligibility would otherwise be at risk."

On the same day, January 28th, a New York Times article by Sam Dillon reported, "The economic stimulus plan that Congress has scheduled for a vote on Wednesday would shower the nation's school districts, child care centers and university campuses with $150 billion in new federal spending, a vast two-year investment that would more than double the Department of Education's current budget. The proposed emergency expenditures on nearly every realm of education, including school renovation, special education, Head Start and grants to needy college students, would amount to the largest increase in federal aid since Washington began to spend significantly on education after World War II. Critics and supporters alike said that by its sheer scope, the measure could profoundly change the federal government's role in education, which has traditionally been the responsibility of state and local government."

While I support the ultimate goals of the new Democratic congressional majority for significant changes in our society, I do not want those changes imposed through stealth. I want them debated and voted on by a Congress able to sort out the good from the bad in shaping legislation. That is not what is happening now. According to Pear's New York Times article, "Democrats said the current economic crisis did not allow time for public hearings on the legislation." For me, this is a form of tyranny and is not acceptable. The ends here do not justify the means. There is no need or excuse for stealth.

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JWR contributor Edward I. Koch, the former mayor of New York, can be heard on Bloomberg Radio (WBBR 1130 AM) every Sunday from 9-10 am . Comment by clicking here.


© 2009, Ed Koch