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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 Feb. 24, 2009 / 30 Shevat 5769

Back to the Future?

By Mona Charen


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It was May 1939. In a little more than six months, the Empire of Japan would spoil America's splendid isolation (a term that actually refers to a period in British foreign policy) and drag us into World War II, thus ending the Great Depression.


But on that May afternoon, electric fans cooled the House Ways and Means Committee room as the congressmen puzzled over the economy's persistent doldrums. No previous recession had lasted even half as long. The unemployment rate had again topped 20 percent — though it had been seven years since the New Deal began. Henry Morgenthau, Roosevelt's Treasury Secretary, was testifying, and he was brutally honest about the results of the greatest (to that time) experiment in Keynesian fiscal policy.


"We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just one interest, and if I am wrong somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises ... I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started And an enormous debt to boot."


Burton Folsom Jr. in his new book, "New Deal or Raw Deal," has unearthed the above quote and much more — an extraordinarily timely bit of historical housekeeping. Over the weekend we learned that several GOP governors, starting with Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, are going to decline funds from the "stimulus" bill just passed by lopsided Democratic majorities in Congress. This, too, has happened before.


In 1932, Congress passed the Emergency Relief and Construction Act. Congress made $300 million (I know, today we spend that on disposable coffee cups for the agriculture department) available to the states to relieve unemployment. Some states, like Illinois, seized disproportionate shares ($55.4 million) while other states, like Massachusetts, declined all federal help. Gov. Joseph Ely believed that relief should remain a local matter. The Boston Civic Symphony performed a number of concerts to benefit the unemployed. Boston College and Holy Cross played an exhibition football game for charity. And the city's schoolteachers agreed to donate 2 percent of their salaries for six months to benefit the poor.


But with Washington handing out funds and other states gobbling them up, Massachusetts voters realized that they were paying for the relief of Illinois' citizens and again privately for their own. They traded Gov. Ely for a Gov. James Michael Curley, who would play the game under the new rules. (Bostonians were so fond of Curley that, later in his career, he remained mayor of Boston despite having to serve two years of his mayoral term in a federal penitentiary.)


The ERA was replaced by the Works Progress Administration (lampooned by critics as "We Piddle Around"). The WPA is the model for the stimulus bill just passed. All those supposedly "shovel ready" projects (which we know will not actually be ready to go for a year and often longer than that) are the 21st century versions of the roads, bridges, schools, and airports built by the WPA. Did it work? Folsom does not deny that some worthy projects were completed by the WPA. But at what cost? Every dollar spent by the WPA had to be collected in taxes from other citizens. Those lost tax dollars might have been used to fund private projects that would have achieved the same ends, perhaps at lower cost. Economist Henry Hazlitt noted at the time, "For every public sector job created by the bridge project a private job has been destroyed somewhere else."


The New Deal has been canonized by historians. Folsom reminds us that it was a series of political decisions by very politically minded men. Political motives often determined where federal money was spent. The New Dealers wanted to relieve suffering. But the suffering of those in solidly Democratic states like the Deep South was less urgent to them than that of those living in swing states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania. WPA workers often complained of pressure to contribute to the Democratic Party. Journalist Lorena Hickok noted that Pennsylvania was "honeycombed with politicians all fighting for the privilege of distributing patronage."


As economic policy, the New Deal was a dismal failure. But here's what keeps Republicans up at night: As a political strategy, it proved very effective.

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