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 Dec. 17, 2010 / 10 Teves, 5771

Tis the Season To Spoil Our Children?

By Mona Charen

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The advice columns are beginning to reflect the season. A dismayed mother wrote to the Washington Post, "I love the holidays, but they bring out the greed in my children. From Halloween to Christmas Eve, all I hear is 'gimme, gimme and gimme.' How can I make them think of others instead of themselves?" The always wise Marguerite Kelly offered some sound suggestions — like having the kids make fudge to give out to friends and neighbors "so your children will find out how good it feels to be a giver as well as a getter."

I sympathize with the mother. From the time my children reached the age of 7 or 8, I was overwhelmed by the orgy of gift giving at this time of year. Don't misunderstand, I'm not Scrooge. Nor would anyone compare me to John D. Rockefeller's mother. In "Titan," biographer Ron Chernow relates that Rockefeller's mother, a strict Baptist and rigid disciplinarian, once said, "I'm glad that I know what my son wants for Christmas so that I (can) deny it to him."

Mrs. Rockefeller's stern determination to instill discipline in her offspring was clearly extreme, yet she lived in an age when even wealthy children were expected to be satisfied with a toy airplane or a new doll. Now, even unwealthy children expect far more.

The "hottest toys" for 2010, according to one website, were said to include "Professor Lupin's Laboratory," a Harry Potter-themed Lego that sells for $149.88; Barbie "My Favorite Time Capsule" dolls that range from $35 to $55, and the Nintendo Wii, which sells for $200 not including the games. That's real money. And they don't just get one or two toys. My kids tend to get many toys on Hanukkah (or did when they were younger — though most were not expensive) — so many that when we donate old toys, they fill huge black plastic trash bags.

Even if we were to limit the number of toys the children received from us, they would still get quite a haul from grandparents, aunts, uncles, and assorted family friends. And it would be churlish to tell generous friends and relations to restrict their giving.

No, for good or ill, in our abundant society (though with 10 percent unemployment, many more kids are doubtless having to settle for less than anyone would like this year), it's impossible to staunch the flow of presents.

Serious Christians have long complained about the commercialization of Christmas. And one hears some Jews grumble that Hanukkah has been perverted into a gift-giving extravaganza only because Jewish parents don't want their children to feel sorely neglected at Christmastime, not because it's an authentic part of the festival. Of course, before the rise of mass marketing in the 19th century, neither winter holiday featured more than modest exchanges of gifts. Santa Claus (at least as he is understood today) is of fairly recent vintage as well.

But exuberant gift giving is sewn into the national psyche now. Besides, the economy has come to depend upon it. Holiday shopping accounts for between 25 and 40 percent of annual sales for retailers.

The challenge for parents who don't want to spoil their children, it seems to me, is to inculcate gratitude. When kids get an opportunity to share with the less fortunate, they cannot help but be aware of their own good fortune even as they brighten someone else's day. We have taken wrapped new presents to a women's shelter — though to my disappointment, we were asked to remove the wrapping before the presents could be offered to the kids (a lamentable sign of the times perhaps). And while we weren't serenaded by angelic towheads — we didn't even get to see the recipients — we did accomplish the basic mission.

In fact, instilling gratitude should be a year-round activity. Even in the midst of economic hard times for many, we cannot lose sight of the incredible bounty this country has bestowed on all of us. While we shouldn't teach history as an exercise in chauvinism, we can and should nevertheless convey to every American child that one of the most precious gifts anyone can receive is to be born in the United States of America.

The sense of outrage among Democrats seems to arise from the genuine conviction that extending the current tax structure is both morally and politically wrong.

On the politics, it's hard to see how they reach this conclusion. Speaker Pelosi could have scheduled a vote on extending the Bush tax cuts before the election. That she declined is evidence that a significant number of Democrats feared that a vote to raise taxes on anyone — even just "the rich" — might not serve them well back home. Have the angry Democrats who are convinced that this compromise was political poison looked at polls? According to an ABC News/Washington Post poll, 69 percent of Americans support the compromise package.

Democrats' rage at the rich blinds them to the true views of the American people. William Voegeli, writing in Commentary, took note of a 2010 ballot measure in liberal Washington State. The measure would have imposed an income tax only on individuals earning more than $200,000 and couples earning more than $400,000 (about 1.2 percent of Washingtonians). Sixty-five percent of voters said no. Voegeli suggests that people of moderate incomes may reject the principle that "rich people should be forced to surrender some of their wealth, just because they are deemed to have too much," because it will eventually be used to "justify policies that force non-rich people to surrender some of their wealth, just because."

But there was another message that Democrats appear to have missed. It was delivered on Nov. 2, and could be called the Biggest Rejection of a Majority Party's policies in living memory. Voters were not unaware that Democrats wished to increase taxes on "the rich" — and yet they emphatically tossed them aside anyway. Are we dealing with a psychological problem here? Are Democrats projecting the anger they feel toward the ungrateful voters onto their own leader, who is only facing political reality?

As for the moral argument — that the undeserving rich should be separated from their obscene profits — well, it isn't moral at all. It isn't motivated by concern for the poor or even for the middle class, because increasing taxes on the rich only makes it less likely that lower-income people will be hired.

Nor can it be justified by reference to the inequity of the current system. Our tax code is so heavily progressive that the top 5 percent of income earners pay 60 percent of income taxes. The top 1 percent pay more than 40 percent of income taxes. In fact, the top 1 percent pay more than the bottom 95 percent combined. Our tax code is the most progressive among OECD nations. And it's worth repeating that the rich pay so much not just because they earn so much, but also because they pay a far larger percentage of what they earn.

Though it drives Democrats crazy, most Americans seem to have a visceral sense that people are entitled to success and that fairness amounts to ensuring equal opportunity, not equal results. And finally, a practical consideration: If removing the uncertainty about tax increases boosts the economy's recovery, the primary beneficiaries will not be the rich, but the currently unemployed — Sanders, Feinstein, Landrieu and the rest notwithstanding.

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