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. 21, 2013/ 11 Adar, 5773

Sequester In The Wrong Place

By Dick Morris

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | If your head hurts, rush to the podiatrist. This is the logic that animates the sequester debate.

The entire debate focuses on the two areas of discretionary spending in the budget — defense and non-defense. But these are not the problem areas.

The big problem with federal spending is that 32 million households — 27 percent — get welfare benefits (means-tested federal benefits).

Discretionary spending has been tame, by comparison. Since the end of the first Bush administration, non-defense discretionary spending has dropped from 18 percent of the budget to 16 percent and defense has gone down from 23 percent to 19 percent. But, at the same time, entitlements have soared. From 1992 to today, entitlements have gone from 50 percent of the budget to 62 percent.

The only reason Congress is focused on discretionary spending is that it is the only area that it can easily control, and President Obama knows that any cut in spending in this sector is only temporary and will be easily wiped out by growth of entitlement spending.

Obama has been very willing to cut discretionary spending. During his presidency, non-defense discretionary spending (spending on all federal agencies but the Pentagon) has gone up only from $468 billion to $514 billion — a 10 percent hike. And defense spending has gone from $544 billion to $605 billion, only an 11 percent increase.

Republicans in Congress have been quite successful in reining in discretionary spending. But entitlements have soared. Federal welfare programs have increased from $563 billion in 2008 to $746 billion in 2011 — a 32 percent rise in three years!

The biggest increases have been in food stamps, unemployment benefits and Medicaid.

Reducing discretionary spending, raising taxes and leaving entitlements in place is a fool's errand. The more taxes rise and discretionary spending drops, the more the economy slows down and the higher entitlement spending will be. Like a dog chasing its tail, we get nowhere on the central question of deficit reduction; we just shift spending from targeted discretionary spending on education, healthcare, crime, transportation and the environment to cash handouts.

In 1980, entitlements absorbed one-third of the federal budget. Now they eat up almost two-thirds.

Today more than a quarter of America is on some form of means-tested entitlement. The percent of households on Medicaid stands at 20 percent, food stamps at 13 percent, 11 percent are on the school lunch program, 7 percent are on welfare, 5 percent are utilizing public housing, and 4 percent are on unemployment. Many, of course, receive money from more than one program.

The budget negotiations or the mandatory cuts that will be triggered by sequestration do nothing to address the key problem plaguing our budget — the growth of entitlements — or the biggest issue affecting our society — the increase in welfare dependency.

One of Obama's most skillful rhetorical gimmicks is to speak of "entitlements" as a unit, in the hopes that the elderly hear Social Security and Medicare. But these programs have not been the biggest culprits in spending growth. The real increase has been in welfare.

There is, of course, a big difference between entitlements for which the beneficiary has paid in earmarked taxes — Social Security and Medicare — and those for which he has not.

The concern that cuts in defense spending will "hollow out" the military are overblown.

Defense spending, as a percent of federal revenue, has been relatively constant, however. It peaked at 29 percent during the Reagan Cold War era and then dropped to 23 percent as George H.W. Bush wound down spending. In 2000, after the Clinton years, it absorbed 18 percent of the budget, swelling to 20 percent under George W. Bush and returning to 19 percent in 2012. The additional $40 billion in sequester cuts will drop its share to 18 percent — hardly cause for alarm.

So the only thing that should talk Republicans out of letting sequester happen would be if Obama is willing to curb entitlements instead of cutting discretionary spending. But, because his goal is to expand entitlements to redistribute income, it will be a long wait until we see that concession.

Dick Morris Archives


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© 2013, Dick Morris