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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 April 28, 2011 / 24 Nissan, 5771

‘Energetic government’ is innovation's greatest enemy

By Jack Kelly




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Born poor, Thomas Alva Edison was a wealthy man when he died in 1931. I suspect President Barack Obama would have disapproved of Mr. Edison, because he made his money -- great gobs of money -- in the private sector.

I doubt many Americans living today know who Thomas Edison was. History isn't taught much anymore, and back when it was, greater attention was paid to politicians and generals than to entrepreneurs.

There wouldn't be an America without George Washington. Abraham Lincoln saved the Union. But we owe more to Thomas Edison than to all but a handful of statesmen.

Mr. Edison is the third most prolific inventor in history. He held 1,093 U.S. patents. He invented the electric light bulb, the phonograph, the motion picture camera. If it weren't for him, we might still be lighting our homes with candles.

We might still be relying on horses and sailing ships for transportation if James Watt hadn't invented the steam engine; if Gottfried Daimler hadn't put a gasoline engine into the automobile, and if the Wright brothers hadn't taken that first flight.

How many would be going hungry if Cyrus McCormick hadn't invented the mechanical reaper, which made possible an exponential increase in food production, or if Clarence Birdseye hadn't invented a safe, quick, cheap way to freeze food so it wouldn't spoil?

Eli Whitney, Andrew Carnegie, George Westinghouse and hundreds of others have enriched our lives more than 90 percent of all the politicians who have ever lived.

History could teach us much if we would pay attention to it. For most of it, life for ordinary people was "nasty, brutish, and short," Thomas Hobbes said. Nothing much changed for the common man from the time Christ walked the earth until about 1775.

Then suddenly there was the Industrial Revolution. The quality of life of ordinary people increased by orders of magnitude in just a few generations.

The timing of this outburst of creativity wasn't an accident. Nor was it coincidence that it happened mostly in America and England.

Innovations come from individuals who have a dream, and who work hard to make it real. "If I find 10,000 ways something won't work, I haven't failed," Thomas Edison said. "I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward."

But genius and hard work aren't enough. Inventors and entrepreneurs must have the freedom to pursue their dreams. That's why the Industrial Revolution began where people were free and government was small.

Our Founding Fathers thought "energetic government" was the greatest danger to liberty. "I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them," Thomas Jefferson said.

"Energetic government" is also innovation's greatest enemy. Life changing inventions typically come from individuals working alone, or from small groups in "skunk works," not from large corporations. That's because bureaucracy stifles innovation.

No corporate bureaucracy is as stultifying as a government bureaucracy. As our government has become more "energetic," our economy has become much less so.

"There's growing evidence that the innovation shortfall of the last decade is not only real but may also have contributed to today's financial crisis," BusinessWeek wrote in its cover story for June 3, 2009.

New regulatory hoops through which innovators must jump add enormously to the cost of and the time it takes to bring new products to market.

And the rewards for innovators are shrinking. Thomas Edison's inventions made him a rich man. I don't begrudge him that, because he enriched my life, and the lives of hundreds of millions of others.

Barack Obama does. He says people who want to keep most of what they earn are "greedy."

But aren't the truly greedy those who think they've a right to stick their hands into other people's pockets, to live well at the expense of their neighbors?

Our financial problems are so severe that perhaps the only thing that can get us out of them is a burst of innovation like that which characterized the early years of the Industrial Revolution.

We should cut back on the thicket of regulations which stifle creativity, and we should give innovators the respect they are due. It is the creators of wealth -- not those who would redistribute it -- who deserve our thanks and admiration.

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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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© 2009, Jack Kelly

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