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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. 20, 2009 26 Shevat 5769

Obama Meets the real Hamilton

By Suzanne Fields


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | MARIGOT, St. Martin — Barack Obama is wintering in the Caribbean. His visage adorns T-shirts everywhere on this small dot in the Leeward Islands beyond the eastern tip of Puerto Rico — T-shirts worn by black, brown and white folk, natives and tourists alike.


The Caribbean has a rich and controversial sociology, but Americans think mostly of the islands as idyllic latitudes for winter lassitude. Few native-born islanders have made it into American history. One striking exception is Alexander Hamilton, who was born on the tiny West Indian island of Nevis and grew up in nearby St. Croix.


He's a founding father who might have been president even though he was foreign born — "the bastard brat of a Scotch pedlar," in the derisive description of John Adams. He was considered a "citizen" of the new United States at the time of the adoption of the Constitution. But he had many political enemies. Thomas Jefferson derided him, unfairly, as a secret "monarchist." Martha Washington called her tomcat "Hamilton" to mock his scandalous sexual appetite.


Despite all that, and the vicious thrust and parry of his Republican opponents, Hamilton is nevertheless one of our most important original political thinkers, and he sounds like just what we need to lead us out of the contemporary economic crisis.


Although Hamilton's reputation suffered in the long shadow of Thomas Jefferson, liberal and conservative alike now agree that revisiting his words of wisdom would benefit us all. I packed up a small library of revisionist interpretations of the first secretary of the treasury, including Ron Chernow's wonderful biography, to read for reflection in St. Martin while back in Washington the politicians are huddling to give away taxpayer money in ways that would have surely appalled him.


Hamilton understood that money collected by the government is the people's money and should be spent responsibly, with appeals to reason, not as gratification for ambitious spendthrift legislators. A responsible government inspires confidence, and doesn't provoke suspicion and fear. A responsible government aims to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit, and its decisions tend to send the stock market up, not down.


Government debt, Hamilton said, was tolerable to pay for necessary wars, and debt can be run up carefully when the economy falls into trouble and expanded for the infrastructure repairs with specific "internal improvements" for the common good.


He reckoned nationalizing the Revolutionary War debt was legitimate because the states of the new federal government had incurred the costs against a common enemy and held a mutual interest in encouraging investment in an industrial economy. Whereas Jefferson saw America's future as an agrarian nation in the direction of landowners, Hamilton reckoned industrial prosperity as the key to a prosperous future.


He had no reluctance to give private banks power as long as the bankers made sure that their loans were granted to borrowers whose personal integrity was matched by smart business plans. They had to be capable of paying back the money. (No Barney Frank escapades with Fannie and Freddie allowed.) Such common sense evaporated over the past decade — careless banking and foolish granting of loans, it seems clear now, is what led us to the present predicament. Idealism exploited by greed begot a deadly result.


Barack Obama invoked Alexander Hamilton and his economic genius at Cooper Union in New York City in a campaign stop last year. "The great task before our founders was putting into practice the ideal that government could simultaneously serve liberty and advance the common good," he said. "For Alexander Hamilton, the young secretary of the treasury, that task was bound to the vigor of the American economy. Hamilton had a strong belief in the power of the market, but he balanced that belief with a conviction that human enterprise 'may be beneficially stimulated by prudent aids and encouragement on the part of the government.'"


The key word here is "prudent," a cautious reserve absent from the recent big banking, and specifically from the president's stimulus bill. A year ago, Barack Obama as campaigner recognized that special interests had put their thumb on the scale so that government rewarded "financial manipulation instead of productivity." Subprime mortgage lending became reckless and unmonitored. Now it's a government thumb. Maybe it's necessary, and maybe it's not — but it's a heavy thumb.

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© 2006, Creators Syndicate, Suzanne Fields

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