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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

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

Economic future looks bright

By Morgan Housel





Why America will be the best place in the world to live for decades to come


JewishWorldReview.com | I did a question-and-answer session with Canadian newspaper La Presse this week. Its edition will be published in French, so here's the English version:

Q. Unprecedented amounts of debt, high unemployment, cities going bankrupt. A lot of business stories about the U.S. tend to be negative. Yet you seem to be critical of this general consensus. What are we missing?

A. Excessive debt is always a problem because it takes away options and leaves you beholden to the past. But I think people ignore how much progress we've made on this front. Total debt, including all government and private debt, as a share of gross domestic product has declined every year since 2008. Household debt payments as a share of income are at the lowest level since the early 1980s. We're in the middle of one of the largest debt deleveragings of all time, and that sets us up for a more stable future. It's ironic -- but totally predictable -- that most people didn't start worrying about our economy's debt problem until it began shrinking.



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American business has so much going for it right now. Businesses are more profitable than ever. Domestic energy production is increasing for the first time in three decades. What does that do to our future? I don't know, but I think it'll be big. It's already pushed the price of natural gas to decade lows. Combine that with surging wages throughout the developing world, and American manufacturing is more competitive than it's been in years. These trends are nearly the opposite of what we faced a decade ago.

Economies move in cycles. The 1920s boomed. The 1930s were a disaster. The 1950s and 1960s were great. The 1970s were pretty rough. The 1980s and 1990s were glorious. The 2000s were terrible, but that just puts us closer to the next expansion. I think we're a lot closer to that expansion than many think.

Q. Ask any student graduating from any university today, and they'll likely tell you that the American Century is over and that China is about to have its moment in the spotlight. Do you agree?

A. I agree to a certain extent. But ask those students where they'd rather live -- China or America -- and I bet 99 out of 100 would choose America. That goes beyond cultural and language barriers. Adjusted for purchasing-power parity, America is more than five times richer than China on a per capita basis.

And while America is growing slower, we are still home to innovation. Apple products say "Designed in California, Assembled in China," on the back. Ask those students which part of the product cycle they want to be involved with, and I think you know what answer you'd get.

China also has severe demographic problems stemming from its one-child policy. Its working-age population is already shrinking, while America's is growing. The effect that will have on future growth isn't appreciated as much as it should be.

I don't think there's any doubt that average living standards in Asia will increase much more over the next few decades than they will in America. In that sense, the 21st century might belong to Asia. And it could transition into an innovator faster than I imagine. But I think America will be the best place in the world to live for decades to come.

Q. You seem to be drawn to people who think against the herd, like Charlie Munger, Mohnish Pabrai, Burton Malkiel, etc. When and how did you first become interested in them and their work?

A. I became interested in them after realizing that they are usually right, while the herd is usually wrong. Most investors say they're contrarians, but I think very few truly are.

If you want to become a great basketball player, you should study Michael Jordan. If you want to become a great golfer, study Tiger Woods. And if you want to become a great investor, you should study people like Warren Buffett, Munger and Pabrai. People pay too much attention to advice given by people who have not been successful in the field they're giving advice on.

Q. We hear a lot about a new wave of manufacturing in the U.S. Do you think that will be a major phenomenon going forward?

A. Yes! It's driven by three factors. One, shipping costs between Asia and America are much higher than they were in the past. Two, wages throughout most of Asia have been rising faster than productivity, while American wages have been facing the opposite phenomenon. Three, natural gas now costs several times less in America than it does in Europe or parts of Asi

A. Add these up, and you get a competitive advantage that America hasn't seen in years.

The one caveat: I don't know what it will do to job creation. Today's manufacturing is highly automated, unlike the 1950s-1970s manufacturing boom that was labor-intensive. Manufacturing output over the last three decades has actually done well, even though manufacturing employment has dropped like a rock. I think it's likely to be the same going forward.

Q. What do you read (online and newspapers)?

A. The daily routine is Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Financial Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg, Reuters and about a dozen blogs I follow closely. "Calculated Risk" is a great one. The blog "Farnam Street" is a great resource. I spend a lot of time digging through economic data and academic studies. And at any given time I'm reading several books. Right now I'm reading the biography of Joseph Kennedy by David Nasaw, "The Better Angels of Our Nature" by Steven Pinker and "The Quest" by Daniel Yergin.

I also read old news because it helps you see how people interpreted upcoming events before they actually happened. Reading the investment section of newspapers from 1999 is fascinating and teaches you more about the mentality of bubbles than anything else. And I go out of my way to read things I know I'm going to disagree with, because it guards against confirmation bias.

Q. Is there a book that stands out for you that helped shape the way you think?

A. I thought the biggest story of the financial crisis was that so few people (including me) saw it coming. I wanted to learn how to make better predictions, which led to me to the book "Expert Political Judgment" by Philip Tetlock. It's an amazing book, laying out a study Tetlock performed over several years on experts' ability to predict political events, notably the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The short summary: The vast majority of experts can't predict the future any better than a coffeepot. Worse, most experts don't even know how bad they are at forecasting, or at least they don't care, since the media don't hold them accountable.

The book changed how I think about financial media, which is dominated by predictions. I've grown much more skeptical of forecasts. The economy is a machine with trillions of moving parts, but we pretend it's a simple device, like a lever. That leads most forecasters astray. The global economy is just way too complicated to allow us to say, "If we do X, Y will happen." We have no idea what will happen.

Tetlock's findings show that those who are most certain of their views tend to be the most wrong, while those who are quick to change their minds when they come across new information have a decent record. I try to keep that in mind. Those who say something is "certain" to happen should probably be ignored. Someone who says "there's a 60 percent chance of this happening" is more likely to be grounded in reality.

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Morgan Housel, a columnist at The Motley Fool, is a two-time winner, Best in Business award, Society of American Business Editors and Writers and Best in Business 2012, Columbia Journalism Review. He doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article.


Previously:


The Biggest Threat to Your Portfolio (It's Not What You Think)

Bond Market Bull Run dead at 30



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