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 Jan. 9, 2014 / 8 Shevat, 5774

Rather than fight inequality, seek opportunity

By Cathy Young

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In the early 1990s, after Soviet communism collapsed, many Western pundits argued that a market economy wouldn't work in Russia because hostility toward wealth was so entrenched most people would rather be poor but equal.

On my trips to Moscow back then, I met many Russians who disagreed. The problem, a middle-age cabdriver told me, was that the average person had no chance to make a decent living: if he and his family were doing well, what did he care if some other guy was super-rich.

Twenty years later, inequality is the focus of debate in the United States. The war on inequality was the centerpiece of Bill de Blasio's campaign for mayor of New York — and of his inauguration speech on New Year's Day. President Barack Obama, too, has embraced the cause. In a speech last month, he deplored "a dangerous and growing inequality and lack of upward mobility" jeopardizing the American idea that "if you work hard, you have a chance to get ahead."

But is inequality the problem — and is the American dream really in decline?

Part of the debate focuses on how to measure inequality. Analysts on the left, such as economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, cite data showing that incomes for the very rich have skyrocketed while those of other Americans have stagnated or even dropped. Those on the right, such as John C. Goodman, an economist with the National Center for Policy Analysis, counter with other figures — taking into account taxes, government programs, noncash benefits such as health insurance, and changes in household composition — suggesting that inflation-adjusted income gains over the past 35 years have taken place across the board.

Still, even the estimates preferred by conservatives, such as Congressional Budget Office numbers, show a dramatic growth in income disparities. From 1979 to 2007, incomes for the top 1 percent have nearly tripled, while increasing by 65 percent for the rest of the top one-fifth of the population, by less than 20 percent for the bottom fifth, and by 40 percent for those in the middle. Is this a problem if everyone's fortunes improve — and if people have a chance to move up the ladder?

That brings us to the second part of Obama's claim: that America is lagging in upward mobility. Indeed, the classic rags-to-riches story is relatively rare: Fewer than 10 percent of Americans raised in families in the bottom fifth of incomes end up moving into the top fifth. Almost 60 percent, however, do at least move up from the bottom fifth. And since the studies track mobility across generations, they leave out immigrants — for whom the American dream remains very much alive.

While the situation is not as dire as many liberals claim, conservative arguments often understate the problem. If low-income Americans are only kept from falling further behind by government programs, that's not something to cheer for if you deplore welfare dependency. Indeed, growing numbers of conservatives recognize the need to address the social, cultural and economic forces keeping the very poor trapped at the bottom — as well as the bane of long-term unemployment. But the solutions have to include, above all, job creation and economic growth.

Much of Obama's speech focused on the need for more opportunity and fewer barriers to advancement. Yet naming inequality itself a key issue was a rhetorical bow to a segment of the left that sees large income disparities themselves as morally offensive. It is a divisive rhetoric that plays not only to left-wing grievances but also to right-wing stereotypes of liberals as socialists. Enhancing opportunity, not battling inequality, should be our goal.


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JWR contributor Cathy Young is a regular contributor to Reason magazine, Newsday and Real Clear Politics, where this first appeared. Comment by clicking here.

© 2013, Cathy Young. This originally appeared in Newsday.