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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 August 22, 2013 / 16 Elul, 5773

Revealed! The one fact the administration doesn't want you to know about the economy's stubborn sluggishness

By Robert J. Samuelson




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Here is the most interesting fact about the economy that you've never heard: Without health spending, the rest of the economy is barely producing more than it did in late 2007, just before the start of the Great Recession. We've spent five and a half years struggling to get back where we were, and many industries are hardly making it.

This sobering insight comes from the Center for Sustainable Health Spending in Ann Arbor, Mich., which compares health spending to the economy's total output, gross domestic product (GDP). From December 2007 to June 2013, health spending rose a respectable 14.7 percent. Meanwhile, GDP grew a lowly 4.6 percent. Exclude health spending from GDP and its growth is only 2.7 percent.

Gasp! Health spending accounts for almost half the economy's meager overall gain.

The dry statistics help explain the economy's stubborn sluggishness. As weak as the economy has seemed, health spending makes it look better than it is. In the roughly five-sixths of the economy that isn't health care, companies are often straining to reach previous highs. If you're a corporate executive or a small-business owner, you haven't had much reason to hire or invest, because -- in many industries -- there's been no net growth in more than five years.

Look at some conventional indicators, and that's what you find:


  • Industrial Production: It's about 1 percent below its 2007 average, reports the Federal Reserve.

  • Vehicle Sales: Car and light truck sales are predicted to hit 15.6 million this year, much better than the recession low of 10.4 million in 2009 but nowhere near the 17 million early in the 2000s, notes Susan Sterne of Economic Analysis Associates.

  • Air Travel: The number of passengers for domestic and international flights, 742.7 million in 2012, was more than 4 percent below 2007 levels and continues to run behind in 2013, according to the Department of Transportation.

  • Home Sales: Sales of new and existing homes should hit 5.3 million in 2013, a big improvement from the 2010 low of 4.5 million, according to Sterne. But that's still well short of 2005's 8.4 million.



No one should be surprised that employment, though rising, remains below its pre-recession peaks. (In July, payroll employment was 136 million compared with 138 million in December 2007.)

Health spending has partially obscured the economy's weakness. "What we're seeing is that health care has a countercyclical component," says economist Paul Hughes-Cromwick of the Center for Sustainable Health Spending. Medicare, Medicaid and other government programs account for about half of health spending and occur more or less automatically. Private insurance often operates much the same way.



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This poses some tricky choices. Do we want health spending to serve as an economic locomotive, an unannounced jobs program? From December 2007 to July 2013, health care's share of total employment has increased from 9.5 percent to 10.7 percent, says the center. If so, do we also accept that health care's relentless growth continues to squeeze wages, salaries and other government programs? Consider: From 1999 to 2013, wages and salaries rose 50 percent (in current dollars) while health insurance premiums increased 182 percent, reports the Kaiser Family Foundation. Companies diverted some compensation into insurance premiums that otherwise might have gone into paychecks.

Right now, we're having it both ways. Although health spending has aided the recovery, it has also slowed from past trends. In 2013, premiums for family coverage rose 3.8 percent, down from a 9.5 percent increase as recently as 2011, says Kaiser. Compared to the rest of the economy, the health sector is flourishing; still, it's under enormous pressure to provide better care for less money. That's as it should be. We'd be better off if the recovery strengthened so we can concentrate on making health care more effective and not just bigger.

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.



08/19/13: From bubble to bottleneck: The unintended side effects of other government policies
08/15/13: A better, brighter America? We're defining prosperity down
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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