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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 April 2, 2008 /26 Adar II 5768

Time for a '30s-style government mortgage role

By James Klurfeld


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Enough already with the brouhaha over Sen. Barack Obama's pastor and whether Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton was greeted by sniper fire in Bosnia. In this crazy kaleidoscope of shifting charges and countercharges that passes as a campaign, there was a moment of real importance last week that shouldn't get short shrift.

It had to do with how this country should be dealing with the home mortgage crisis and what the proper role for government ought to be. What's happening to the mortgage markets affects not only those with subprime loans but everybody who owns a home or wants to own a home - which means the vast majority of us.

We are facing the most serious downturn in the housing market since the Great Depression, at least according to some experts. And the one proposal that makes the most sense to deal with the problem is, unfortunately, getting tangled in the partisanship of the political debate. That proposal is to create a new version of the Home Owners' Loan Corp., which helped millions of homeowners refinance their loans during the mid-1930s. It has been proposed by such prominent economists as Alan Blinder, the former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve.

The principle is simple: A government agency would buy old mortgages from banks and issue new loans to homeowners. The problem was much larger in scale during the Depression, but by 1951, when the HOLC closed its books, the agency had turned a small profit.

It seems such a sensible - and time-tested - approach that I'm stunned officials from both parties don't get behind it. But Sen. John McCain, who will be the Republican candidate for president, gave a speech this week indicating he opposed government-backed solutions. A new version of HOLC seemed to be his target. Both Sens. Obama and Clinton favor some aspect of the Blinder approach.

This shouldn't be a matter of partisan politics, but a practical question of what will work at a difficult time. But we have been stuck in an ideological straitjacket for the last 27 years. The mantra has been that the market can solve all problems and the government only screws things up.

I'll take second place to no one in my belief in the genius of the marketplace, but if we have learned anything in the past century, it's that government sometimes must play a role in regulating and correcting the market when it goes haywire. The mortgage crisis is a classic case.

The economic shock we're going through now might finally push the political pendulum back from the pure free-market side. Imagine, for instance, if Social Security had been privatized and there were an even bigger Bear Stearns-type of collapse. The economic repercussions would be staggering.

McCain has always struck me as a pragmatist, but he has been especially sensitive to his party's conservative wing in seeking the presidential nomination this time around. And he has not shown great interest in the nuances of economic policy. I fear he is unnecessarily boxing himself into a position he wouldn't want to be saddled with if he gets to the White House.

Blinder and other economists say there are any number of ways to create a modern-day version of the HOLC. Getting the housing market righted is critical, because its collapse is at the center of the current economic crisis. But what we don't need is a knee-jerk ideological debate that results in just another example of government gridlock and presidential vetoes.

In fact, this is a situation that shouldn't wait for the next president to take office. Congress, with the support of the candidates, should be taking action now.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.

James Klurfeld is a professor of journalism at Stony Brook University.


Previously:

03/11/08: Power rightly belongs to Dem superdelegates
03/04/08: A neophyte looks like a pro, and vice versa
02/22/08: The allure of Obama for young people
02/19/08: Obama sounds good, but words aren't enough


© 2008, Newsday Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

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