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 August 9, 2011 / 9 Menachem-Av, 5771

S&P mixes credit ratings with politics

By Dan K. Thomasson

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | So the folks that helped bring you the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression have struck again. This time the super rating agency Standard and Poor’s has decided to knock down the credit worthiness of the United States in what appears to be a blatantly political move.

The faceless company about which the average American, including this one, knows little or nothing has done so admittedly because it didn’t like the debate in Congress over raising the nation’s debt limit. Well, who in hell did? But some of us realize Congress only works, if it works at all, when the wolf is inhaling for the final breath that blows down the house. That’s the way this democracy always has functioned or not functioned.

But where do these guys get off in the first place? Should they even be factoring politics into these decisions that most of us, including any number of experts, always believed were based on financial considerations alone? Well, we are being told that in rating sovereign institutions politics has always played a role, which raises another question as to why they should have such power. We regulate them, for crying out loud!

Not even considered in their decision was the recent debt limit hike. The two other major rating agencies, Moody’s and Fitch, have not followed suit, acknowledging the financial position of other AAA rated nations are not unlike that of the United States.

Just a cursory examination of the role played by credit rating organizations such as S&P in the horrors of 2008 shows that Americans lost billions of dollars when they paid attention to their Triple A ratings on securities full of toxic mortgages. Now S&P has set itself up as the non-elected overseer of America’s political stability well into the future.

Why should we be surprised? They have warned us for months they might take this action. The arrogance of it is almost overwhelming. Can one imagine some S&P guy named John Chambers that no one except a few financial wonks ever heard of justified his sovereign rating committee’s action by citing the fact Congress waited “until the midnight hour” to break the stalemate. Has this guy been living under a pile of Wall Street ticker tape for most of his life? Crisis is the name of the congressional game.

One might consider the downgrade to AA+ as some sort of retribution for the fact Congress adopted a bill that required new regulations that would seriously lessen the role of these agencies in the market by reducing bank reliance on the ratings. Congress has not been happy about the slowness with which federal bank regulators have drafted the regulations and could now speed up the process.

Few Americans were pleased at the debacle that took place on Capitol Hill between recalcitrant Republicans and Democrats over raising the debt limit. In fact a recent poll showed that 82 percent of Americans disapproved of the way Congress has responded to the huge deficit. The so-called tea party members in the GOP House majority have lost considerable public support with their refusal to compromise, according to the polls. Overall, the Congress probably should be downgraded to a minus rating.

But that is for the American people to decide not some self-anointed financial geniuses who profited handsomely during the lead up to the recession by handing out high ratings on shaky mortgage deals. The recent agreement that temporarily ended the debt crisis requires the establishment of a super committee of 12 members equally divided between Republicans and Democrats to attack the deficit problem with recommendations by year’s end.

To expect much from that may be more than a little optimistic, given the climate on the Hill with an election approaching. On the other hand, there is a certainty that House and Senate members going home for this August recess are going to hear about it from constituents who want the turmoil ended. Hopefully they will return willing to compromise.

How much impact the S&P decision will have on the nation’s shaky economic health will depend somewhat on whether this country and the world overreacts to one rating agency that decided to stick its nose into politics.

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08/08/11: Politics again takes precedence over common sense

08/04/11: In modern society, a distinct pattern of senselessness

07/29/11: A debt solution: Throw the rascals out, all of them

07/21/11: Campaign finance reform --- you're kidding, right!?

07/08/11: Casey Anthony jury did its job

07/05/11: Nailing a prominent figure or institution should come at a heavy risk — and an even greater price if proven a hoax