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December 2, 2014

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 15, 2013 / 9 Elul, 5773

A better, brighter America? We're defining prosperity down

By Robert J. Samuelson




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | If proverbial Martians descended on Earth and toured America’s crowded shopping malls, traveled its congested highways and sampled its technological marvels — from the many cable channels to ubiquitous smartphones — these visitors would be hard-pressed to describe the United States as poor or its economy as failing. The truth is that, even in its current unsatisfactory condition, America is an immensely wealthy society. It produces $16 trillion in annual goods and services, provides 136 million jobs and supports a median household income of $50,000.

I do not cite these facts to excuse our economic faults. But it’s important to keep perspective: For most Americans, the economy is performing adequately, though obviously not spectacularly. Despite a woeful 7.6 percent unemployment rate, it remains true that 92.4 percent of workers have jobs (counting discouraged workers who’ve left the workforce would reduce this to about 90 percent). We have two distinct economies: one that inflicts acute pain on a minority of Americans but inspires mass political and media criticism; and another that creates huge wealth for the majority but is virtually ignored. Though distress is concentrated, unhappiness is widespread.

The standard explanation for this is well-known. We expected better. The recession was (after all) the worst slump since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Millions of Americans lost their homes. Long-term unemployment exceeding six months reached post-World War II highs. Financial institutions once thought impregnable (Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch) collapsed or were saved by shotgun mergers. These surprising events weren’t supposed to happen. People were scared, and they remember.

Up to a point, I believe this story. Indeed, I’ve peddled it repeatedly in print. But on reflection, I don’t think it fully captures what happened. Something beyond dashed expectations has amplified fears and anxieties.

The Great Recession seemed to create random victims, so that even those who had jobs, didn’t lose their homes and saw their retirement accounts recover — that is, most Americans — felt threatened. Perhaps the very rich were spared (because their daily lives were barely affected) along with the very poor (because their lives were already chaotic). But from the lower- to the upper-middle class, the lessons seemed dire. If it happened once, it could happen again. It didn’t happen to me last time; it could the next.


For most Americans, prosperity means more than getting richer. Sure, people want higher incomes and living standards. But they also want a sense of control over their lives. Most Americans would, I suspect, sacrifice some income in exchange for a more secure income. They want stability, and for years, most Americans unconsciously took bedrock economic stability for granted, though most would deny this. Jobs could be had most of the time, because recessions were infrequent.

This confidence is gone and, with it, the sense of control. Americans no longer presume bedrock stability. Two developments explain why.

First is the changed behavior of big companies. Since the early 1980s, they’ve increasingly retreated from career jobs, as political scientist Eva Bertram notes in a report for Third Way, a think tank. Companies fired workers more readily. In 1983, the median job tenure — the time with one employer — of men 55 to 64 was 15 years; by 2010, it was 10 years.

Second is a loss of faith in the government’s economic management. For years, public policies seemed to neutralize eroding private job security by minimizing recessions. The Great Recession demolished this comforting notion.

Our Martian visitors would discover that America’s mass abundance is mixed with mass anxiety. There’s a broadly shared sense of vulnerability, which helps explain why discontent is not confined to the distressed. It also accounts for the view that the Great Recession and its aftershocks, unlike previous post-World War II slumps, constitute “an assault on the middle class.” Perhaps continued recovery and more jobs will erase present doubts, though I suspect that any reversal will, at best, be partial because the recession’s psychological effects are pervasive.

Americans are defining prosperity down, to paraphrase the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan. They are aligning attitudes with experience. The consequences are profound for our economy and politics. Judging themselves more exposed to business cycles, Americans have become more hesitant and precautionary in their spending. These worries and the resulting restraint are both a cause and consequence of the weak recovery.

Politics increasingly involves scapegoating — who “lost” prosperity? — and a search for greater public protections against rising private insecurities. Obamacare is perhaps an unintended prototype of this quest, illustrating how difficult it can be. The experience in Europe, with more public protections and a darker economic outlook, teaches a similar lesson. The prosperity paradox is this: America has plenty of it, but not enough to sooth social conflict and allay economic anxiety.

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 on Robert J. Samuelson's column by clicking here.



08/12/13: The news isn't free
08/08/13: ObamaCare has already caused health care cost growth to slow?
08/25/11: Inflation is the answer?
08/09/11: The big danger is Europe
07/27/11: Why are we in this debt fix? It's the elderly, stupid
07/25/11: Postwar Pillars Of Capitalism Are Crumbling
01/27/11: How Obama's speech muddied the budget debate
01/24/11: China's new world order demands stronger U.S. response
10/18/10: What's left in the Fed's toolbox?
10/11/10: The Age of Austerity
09/20/10: The ritual of sound-bite economics
08/09/10: America's parent trap
08/02/10: Hope for our energy future
07/29/10: Why CEOs aren't hiring
06/07/10: Duped by success
05/31/10: Why Obama's poverty rate measure misleads
05/17/10: Wake up, America
03/22/10: The maestro's misconceptions
03/15/10: Obama's illusions of cost-control
01/14/10: In the aftermath of the Great Recession
12/29/09: Democracy's demolition derby
11/30/09: Bipartisan threats against the institution that saved America from depression
09/14/09: Give It to Us Straight
09/07/09: Bad Future for Jobs?
08/24/09: A Rail Boondoggle, Moving at High
08/10/09: Championing the Status Quo
08/03/09: We'll remain in denial, prisoners of wishful thinking, until the fateful reckoning arrives in the unimagined future
07/27/09: Obama's misleading medicine
07/13/09: Americans' self-indulgence hurts us
07/06/09: Economists out to lunch
06/29/09: Panics ‘R’ Us!
06/08/09: Flirting with deflation or inflation? Now the economy might be at risk of both
05/25/09: A ‘crisis’ America needs
05/18/09: Will somebody finally say that Obama is irresponsibly mortgaging our future?
05/04/09: The Bias Against Oil And Gas
04/27/09: Environmentalists maximize the dangers of global warming while pretending we can conquer it at virtually no cost
04/20/09: Our Depression Obsession
03/23/09: Geithner treads a line between financial paralysis and populist resentment
03/23/09: American Capitalism Besieged
01/06/09: The limits of pump priming
12/29/08: Humbled By Our Ignorance
07/31/08: The homeownership obsession
07/24/08: A Depression? Hardly
07/17/08: Why isn't globalization making the interconnected world more stable?



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