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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

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 March 29, 2011 / 23 Adar II, 5771

It's BACK! The Return of Stagflation

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Some of us have seen this movie before -- and didn't much like it the first time.

The cast might have changed but the plot is the same: A president thinks he can keep spending-and-taxing, running up deficits and adding to the national debt, but escape the inescapable result: rising inflation. More dollars, less wealth. Why work, save, invest, put in overtime or start a business if the dollars you earn are worth less and less? Inflation is the most insidious of taxes, eroding people's savings, salaries, initiative.

As the economy stagnates, national morale turns into national malaise. Consumer confidence drops, and so does American confidence in general. The series of interlocked, complex operations that is the American economy starts to sputter.

Then comes the decisive blow: Unrest in the Middle East raises the price of oil to extortionate levels. It happened to Richard Nixon's presidency, then Jimmy Carter's. The oil shock ripples through the rest of the economy. Price controls -- and restrictions on domestic oil production -- only aggravate the crisis.

The result: long lines at the pump, shortages in general, and ever higher prices. The country reaps the worst of both undesirable worlds: stagnation and inflation. A new word has to be coined to describe the new combination: Stagflation. Unemployment, inflation, interest rates, all hit double digits. The misery index, unemployment plus inflation, rises sharply.

People feel trapped. As if they were on a treadmill headed down, down, down while prices keep going up, up, up. And there seems no way to get off. The intellectuals begin writing think pieces not about how to create the conditions for a robust recovery, but how to handle America's inevitable decline in the world. The country's leaders make empty excuses, put off the hard decisions necessary to reverse course, and temporize in general. Frustration grows. A sense of futility spreads. That's stagflation.

Today's sequel -- call it Stagflation II -- has only started filming. There is still time to yell "Cut!" before the unhappy ending is upon us again. But will this president wake up in time? So far he's been sleeping through the opening scenes.

Somebody needs to turn on the house lights and stop this production while there's still time. There's no shortage of decisive actions waiting to be taken. See the Bowles-Simpson report, with its list of ways to balance the budget. But there's little will to enact them. Somebody's favorite ox, or even calf, might be gored. And so the great ship that is the American economy stays on the same disastrous course, taking on water as it drifts toward ... the falls.

Now, now, we're told, let's not be alarmist. There's nothing here that can't be explained away by the experts. Sure, inflation is growing ("February consumer prices up 0.5 percent" -- news item, March 18, 2011.) And the details behind the headline are scarcely assuring: "Consumer prices in the U.S. climbed more than forecast in February, led by the highest food prices since 2008 and rising fuel costs. The Consumer Price Index increased 0.5 percent, the most since June 2009, figures from the Labor Department showed Thursday in Washington...."

But strip out the cost of fuel and food, we're assured, and "inflation is relatively subdued." That kind of unassuring assurance makes one wonder: Does whoever compiles these numbers pump his own gas or buy his own groceries? If so, hasn't he noticed what's happening? And it's happening to the core of the economy. For who can get by without food and fuel?

What, Washington worry? The administration's budgeteers are still having fun with numbers. And still getting caught at it. To quote one, all too typical headline the other day: "Obama's budget is seen/ underestimating deficits." No kidding?

Alas, at least for the administration, there's always some spoilsport around who insists on blowing the whistle: "WASHINGTON (Bloomberg News) -- President Barack Obama's 2012 budget would produce $2.3 trillion more in deficits over the next decade than the administration projects, according to the Congressional Budget Office." Is anybody surprised? What'll we find out next, that the projections for how much ObamaCare will cost are skewed, too? That won't surprise anybody who's been paying attention, either.

As the economy hurtles on, following this too familiar script, what's most conspicuous -- by its absence -- is any constancy of purpose on the part of all the president's men. One day they're pushing an economic stimulus package -- Full speed ahead, inflation be damned! -- and the next issuing pro forma warnings about the danger of federal deficits out of control.

There seems to be no single guiding principle at work, just a series of fits and starts in response to the crisis of the moment. In that respect, the president's economic policy matches his foreign policy: React to today's events rather than shape tomorrow's.

It's hard to avoid the impression that once again the country is in the slippery grip of an ad-hocracy with no fixed purpose. But that's not quite right. This president does share one overriding concern with every other officeholder: his re-election. That seems to be his pole star; his every action is guided by it. If he has an ideology, that's it.

The conspiracy theorists are wrong: Barack Obama isn't engaged in some insidious plot to turn the United States of America into just another European-style social democracy. That could be the result of all his twists and turns, but it's scarcely a conscious goal. It's just where we're drifting. And will continue to drift till the American people themselves wake up and decide to reverse course.

Paul Greenberg Archives

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JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

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