May 13, 2013
David G. Savage:
Church-state, literally? Supreme Court weighing public school graduation in a church
May 10, 2013
Rabbi Berel Wein: Be all that you should be
May 8, 2013
Peter Ford: Why China is welcoming both Israel's Netanyahu and Palestinians' Abbas
Obama administration quietly backs out of appeal over new contraceptive mandate
At Kerry-Putin meeting, US-Russia relations thaw --- a tad
The Kosher Gourmet by Leela Cyd Ross :
Almost too pretty to eat, this colorful salad with Sicilian inspiration will tickle the taste buds and delight your visual sensibility
May 6, 2013
May 3, 2013
Kids, kittens the Same?
With employee perks at struggling Internet pioneer Yahoo! it's hard to tell
Artificial kidney offers hope to patients tethered to a dialysis machine
April 29, 2013
Poland's new Jewish museum celebrates life, doesn't revisit Holocaust
Terrorism in America: Is US missing a chance to learn from failed plots?
Boston Bomber's 'Svengali' Revealed
Tiny satellites + cellphones = cheaper 'eyes in the sky' for NASA
April 26, 2013
Clifford D. May:
Defense in the Age of Jihadist Terrorism
Sharon Palmer, R.D.:
How to feel your best -- with plenty of energy, a healthy weight and optimal mental and physical function -- without driving yourself batty
April 24, 2013
Admit it: No one has any idea what's going on
April 22, 2013
US man departing country arrested on terror charges
An unorthodox but growing treatment in a 9-year-old's battle against cancer
April 19, 2013
Caroline B. Glick:
Why Obama's visit to Israel had no impact on public opinion or government policy
Gold collapse: The start of something big?
Livable super-Earths? Two candidates among Kepler's latest finds
April 17, 2013
Too much of a good thing? 'Palestinians' realize downside of foreign aid boom
BAD NEWS: EVERYONE IS RIGHT!
April 15, 2013
Egyptian Christians respond with harsh words to attack -- rocks, Molotov cocktails, and gunfire -- against main cathedral
Marcy Darnovsky and Karuna Jaggar:
High Court to decide if you should own your DNA
US bracing for more Russian blowback after taking action against 18 more human rights violators
April 12, 2013
New cybersecurity bill: Privacy threat or crucial band-aid?
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom:
The Kosher Gourmet by Susan Russo:
Jackie Robinson's Friend, Hank Greenberg; CNN's Jake Tapper; Texas County in the News is named for 19thC. Jewish soldier and Congressman
FRUITY QUINOA STUFFED PEPPERS: A flavorful, colorful and edible vessel of delicately fluffy, mildly nutty filling combined with chewy apricots, tangy cherries, and crunchy pistachios
April 10, 2013
North Korean missiles: Could US shoot them down?
Warning: Don't waste your capital being fooled by profit prophets
Donald Hensrud, M.D.:
Mayo Clinic Medical Edge: Take vitamin supplements with caution --- even approved, they may actually do damage
74 DNA discoveries move cure closer for three cancers
April 8, 2013
Jonathan Tobin: What Part of No Preconditions Do American Jews Not Get?
Is Putin finally trading his own party for a new power base?
Jewish World Review
Feb. 22, 2013/ 12 Adar, 5773
The great sequester panic
Prepare for the end of food safety as we have known it. For a breakdown in public order. For little children languishing in ignorance. If only Edward Gibbon were here to chronicle the devastation. On March 1, the fabric of our civilization begins to unwind.
That’s when the economy begins to stall and we turn our back on our values, all because the federal government will have to begin to cut a few tens of billions of dollars from the largest budget the world has ever known.
This is the lurid fairy tale spun by President Barack Obama. In the fight over the sequester, he is resorting to the tried-and-true (and tiresome) strategy of every official confronted with budget cuts he doesn’t want to implement, from the commander in chief to a lowly bureaucrat toiling at some school district: maximize the scare-mongering and pain.
In Hans Christian Andersen terms, Obama is the princess and the sequester is the pea. Over the next 10 years, the sequester amounts to a $1.16 trillion cut, or roughly 3 cents on every federal dollar. If we can’t squeeze a couple of pennies out of every dollar, we might as well begin our great national bankruptcy proceedings right now.
This year we are supposed to cut $85 billion from a $3.5 trillion budget. And it won’t even be that much. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the federal government won’t be able to cut the full $85 billion. It will manage to cut only about half that in 2013.
As Yuval Levin of the journal National Affairs points out, even with the sequester, the federal government will spend a little more in 2013 than in 2012, $3.553 compared to $3.538 trillion. Welcome to the Age of Austerity.
Even with the sequester, nondefense discretionary spending will still be up almost 10 percent since 2008. Even with the sequester, federal spending is projected to be a robust 22.8 percent of gross domestic product in 2023. Even with the sequester, the debt will hit 100 percent of GDP just two years later than it would otherwise, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center.
It’s hard to see how a cut of a little more than $40 billion this year can possibly tank a $16 trillion economy. Or why keeping the deficit the same it is projected to be this year, at about $845 billion with the sequester cuts already accounted for, will be a shock too severe for the economy to take.
None of this should be taken as a brief for the sequester as policy. It is a classic instance of Washington coming up with a stupid kick-the-can compromise and then proceeding to have an even stupider debate over what to do next. Republicans want to blame President Barack Obama for the idea of the sequester, even though they signed onto it as part of a bipartisan deal to get past the debt ceiling showdown of 2011. Do they think that no one will remember that they voted for the deal?
The bastard spawn of the debt ceiling fight, the sequester is designed to be crude and unappealing to all sides. It disproportionately and thoughtlessly hits defense spending and domestic discretionary spending. There is very little to recommend it — except that it is actually a spending cut in a Washington where that is the rarest of creatures.
Ideally, Congress and the president would agree on more targeted and intelligently crafted savings. But the President insists on more tax increases. The other day he said a cuts-only replacement for the sequester would be as absurd as a taxes-only agreement on overall deficit reduction. Yet he exacted a taxes-only agreement from Republicans over the fiscal cliff, with nary a concern about making the deal more “balanced.”
Since Republicans rightfully aren’t budging on tax increases so soon after giving the president a tax hike that hit 77 percent of households (thanks to the expiration of the payroll tax cuts), the sequester seems certain to happen. Presumably, its cuts will be more rationally allocated at some later date. For now, to paraphrase Phil Gramm talking about Gramm-Rudman-Hollings, his own budgetary blunderbuss from the 1980s, the sequester is a bad idea whose time has come.
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