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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 Feb 7, 2012/ 14 Shevat, 5772

Wipe that smirk off your face, Mr. President. Your 'good news' is a statistical illusion

By Jack Kelly




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "The recovery is speeding up," President Barack Obama said when the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the unemployment rate fell from 8.5 percent in December to 8.3 percent in January.

Not really, said the Congressional Budget Office. Economic growth will be sluggish this year (2.0 percent), much slower next (1.1 percent), CBO said in its annual forecast. The unemployment rate will climb to 8.8 percent by September, and will exceed 9 percent by late next year, CBO predicted.

How can CBO be so pessimistic when BLS had such good news to report?

Because the good news is a statistical illusion. The unemployment rate declined only because the labor force participation rate fell by a record 1.2 million last month, to its lowest level in 30 years. The unemployment rate would have risen to 8.9 percent if the labor force hadn't shrunk.

Furthermore, the 243,000 job gain BLS reported in January is based on "seasonal adjustments." The unadjusted data indicate 2.7 million jobs were lost last month.

Our mammoth national debt drags our economy down. It's getting worse.

The federal budget deficit for the 2012 fiscal year (which ends Sep. 30), will be $1.1 trillion, CBO estimates. Barack Obama will be the first president ever to have trillion dollar deficits for four consecutive years. He will have added more to the national debt in one term than the previous record holder, George W. Bush, did in two.

This is "unsustainable," and "runs the risk of serious economic consequences," Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke told the House Budget Committee Feb. 1.

Mr. Obama said nothing about the national debt in his state of the union address, little about jobs. The "defining issue of our time," he said, is "fairness."

Fairness demands that taxes be increased on the rich, Mr. Obama said.

"Right now, (billionaire investor and Obama friend) Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary," Mr. Obama said. To emphasize this, he pointed to Mr. Buffett and his secretary, Debbie Bosanek, who were sitting in the gallery with Michelle Obama.

He paid an effective tax rate of 17.4 percent on income of $6.94 million in 2010, Mr. Buffett said. Ms. Bosanek paid 35.8 percent on $60,000, he said.

Rich people should pay at least 30 percent of their income in federal tax, President Obama thinks. Passing the "Buffett tax" is his top economic priority.

"Do we want to keep these tax cuts for wealthy Americans?" Mr. Obama asked in the state of the union address. "Or do we want to keep out investments in everything else, like education and medical research, a strong military and care for our veterans? Because if we're serious about paying down our debt, we can't do both."

This was remarkably dishonest, even for him.

When income and payroll taxes are added together, the top one tenth of one percent paid an average tax rate of 30.7 percent in 2010, according to the Tax Policy Center. Middle income Americans paid 12.8 percent.

Citizens for Tax Justice estimates the Buffett tax would raise about $50 billion a year -- barely a nickel on the dollar on this year's deficit. So it's obviously a lie to assert, as Mr. Obama did, that passing it would make spending cuts unnecessary.

Most of Mr. Buffett's income comes from capital gains, which are taxed at 15 percent. This explains why his rate was lower. But why would Ms. Bosanek pay almost triple what others who earn what she earned pay?

I doubt she did. Perhaps Mr. Buffett and Ms. Bosanek based their calculations on her marginal income tax rate (the tax she'd pay on the next dollar she earns). Ms. Bosanek is in the 25 percent bracket. If you add to that the employee share of payroll taxes (5.65 percent), you get closer to 35.8 percent, but are still well short of it. Perhaps they threw in state taxes as well. Mr. Buffett and Ms. Bosanek won't disclose how they calculated her tax rate.

Mr. Obama wants a campaign issue, not a solution to our economic problems. His demagoguery "distracts from the serious issues the country faces - creating jobs and closing long-term budget deficits," said Washington Post economics writer Paul Samuelson.

If Republicans agree to the Buffett tax, they'd deny Mr. Obama the issue he seeks, and make it harder for him to evade the real economic problems, Mr. Samuelson thinks.

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JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration.

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