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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 May 29, 2014 / 29 Iyar, 5774

The Housing Bust and the American Psyche

By Froma Harrop



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Real estate mania lives on at the HGTV cable channel, where house shoppers still holler for granite on their kitchen islands and his-and-her sinks in their en suite bathrooms. But in the non-TV reality of middle-class America, the bloom is definitely off the real estate rose.

The rose isn't dead, mind you. Surveys show an enduring desire to own one's home, despite the trauma left by the real estate meltdown and recession. But the love is not what it was.

So customer demand continues, Jane Zavisca, a University of Arizona sociologist, told me, "but not homeownership at all costs."

Young people who've seen others' lives ruined by the pain of foreclosure seem especially wary of taking on a mortgage, according to Zavisca, who studies attitudes toward homeowning.

More on the psychology later.

Economists worry that the depressed housing sector is hampering a robust recovery. Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen recently testified before Congress that housing remains a cloud on an otherwise promising economic horizon of stronger hiring and amped-up consumer spending.

True, some formerly shattered markets — in Phoenix, Las Vegas and parts of California, for example — have much improved. But nationally, the sign of a housing recovery seen a year ago now appears to have been a blip. And the problems in the sector aren't going away.

What's wrong is this: At the end of March, 19 percent of "homeowners" with mortgages — nearly 10 million households — were "underwater." That means they owed more on their house than they could sell their house for. These numbers come from the real estate website Zillow.

That sounds a lot better than the 31 percent owing more than their house was worth near the height of the misery in 2012. But it doesn't count the legions of homeowners barely above water. Many lack the financial breathing room to sell; they'd have to first find some extra cash.

Thus, the middle-class housing market remains fairly frozen as owners decline to trade their homes for something better. Note: About 30 percent of homes in the bottom third price range are underwater. (As usual, things are much better at the top.)



Furthermore, many members of the middle class with jobs and savings no longer believe in a future of plenty. They're seeing their neighbors slide down the economic chute.

So taking on a mortgage seems a scarier prospect than before. Zavisca cites studies confirming that holding a mortgage weighs heavier on psychological well-being than it used to.

"Even for people with a lot of equity, just having a mortgage makes them feel more insecure than they did five or 10 years ago," Zavisca said. With a mortgage now comes heightened anxiety.

Though Americans clearly do want to own homes, they are much less optimistic about the potential for large gains in equity.

That said, the idea of a home as a means of saving for retirement — as something one could sell in hard times — persists. It is a financial asset, Zavisca said, "but not in the sense that the average individual should be making a living buying and selling real estate."

What amazes me is that more Americans aren't seething over one of the biggest con jobs ever perpetrated on an unsuspecting public. The housing bubble was a product of public policy.

The Fed under Alan Greenspan kept interest rates low to keep the speculative frenzy going. Financial deregulation let lenders push snake-infested mortgage contracts onto the shoulders of ordinary people.

When the bubble splattered, ordinary people were left bankrupt, foreclosed upon and devastated both financially and psychologically. If Americans are less than enthusiastic about real estate, who can blame them?

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