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December 2, 2014

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 June 20, 2011 / 1 Sivan, 5771

The (Not So) Great Debate

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The most revealing comment made during the not very revealing "debate" among Republican presidential candidates came from the moderator, CNN's John King, who asked the line-up of GOP hopefuls to explain what their plan for the economy was.

The question was revealing, however unintentionally, because of its underlying assumption: that the economy needs a presidentially provided plan if it's ever going to fully revive.

You might have thought the idea of a planned economy went out with the fall of communism, or at least of the late unlamented Soviet Union. That was a couple of decades ago, but even though empires collapse, the assumptions on which they were based persist. Now the need for a planned economy turns up as the unspoken premise of, of all things, an American presidential debate. Bad ideas don't die; they just mutate and emerge in a different era and environment, often enough incognito, their ideological origins unrecognized.

It's an old joke -- and an all too true one: Know how to make God laugh?

Answer: Make plans.

How strange: What may have been the greatest economic expansion in this country's history, the explosion of American economic growth during the latter part of the 19th century, took place without an over-all government plan. How about that?

Instead, all that growth spurt took place through a wild mix of public and private investment, of entrepreneurial innovation and good old-fashioned, all-American corruption. (It wasn't always easy to tell the difference.)

Result: The economy grew dramatically through a succession of booms and busts, fits and starts, panics and peaks without anybody in the federal government planning it. You'd think it was a free country.

By the end of that period, a nation ravaged by a terrible civil war that left a good third of it in ruins had emerged into the 20th century as an industrial, agricultural and even something of a financial giant. And nobody had planned it that way. Nobody could have planned it that way.

The growth of the American economy in those years was so great, so dynamic and dramatic, that the country attracted still more immigrants by the millions from still more parts of the world. All flocked to the Land of Opportunity. How could that possibly have happened without a comprehensive government plan? And yet it did.

No, it wasn't easy. And it certainly wasn't smooth. Or guaranteed. Call it Creative Destruction, to borrow a description of capitalism from an economist named Schumpeter. If you're looking for a prime example of Creative Destruction, late 19th-century America would be it. If monopolies weren't being created, they were being outlawed. If strikes weren't being called, they were being broken. And through it all, the economy was growing like a teenager, and with about as much impulse control.

How restart today's stalled economy? It might help to look back at the spirit of those 1ate 19th- and early 20th-century Americans, new and old, native and immigrant, who were making it all happen. They had something better than a planned economy to rely on: a faith in freedom and in themselves. No matter what obstacles they might encounter or challenges they would have to meet. Or however painful the setbacks. Through it all, they didn't just talk about the spirit of freedom; they lived it. Through all the economy's ups and downs and animal spirits. And the country flourished. Not in any planned way but in all ways, chaotic as that may sound to undersecretaries of economic development at the UN or economic planners at think tanks.

To appreciate, and apprehend, the best and most revealing question/comment of Monday night's presidential debate, and recognize the unexamined assumption behind it, requires that rarest of faculties in a presidential election campaign:

A little historical perspective.

Oh, yes, the candidates. Who won and who lost this presidential debate/ lovefest/mishmash the other night? It scarcely matters this early in the presidential sweepstakes, which keep starting sooner and sooner.

Unfortunately.

I'd give the decision to Mitt Romney on points, mainly because his party could use a Wendell Willkie instead of a Barry Goldwater at this uncertain juncture in the political wars. It could use somebody who's not just a businessman but a politician, a consensus-builder rather than an ideologue.

Somebody who may be conservative but ain't mad about it. His party needs a Dwight D. Eisenhower rather than a Robert A. Taft. (Romney-Petraeus in '12, anyone?)

But it's much too early to choose favorites in this race. Some possible nominees, like Jon Hunstman of Utah and now fresh from the American embassy in Beijing, haven't even got to the festivities yet. There were some hopefuls up there on CNN's stage who shone even at this early date. Michele Bachmann, for bright example. She was articulate, on point, and -- please don't noise it about, but she may be an ... intellectual. Shocking. If that doesn't kill her chances in the GOP's presidential primaries, nothing will.

The congresswoman may be guilty of intellectuality, the unforgivable sin of American politics. (See the political fate of Stevenson, Adlai.) Because her answers seemed based on ideas, mainly those of the classical liberal economists. And ideas have consequences. She's going to be somebody to watch in national politics, presidential nominee or not.

Others have seen her potential, too, or else the fashionable crowd wouldn't be giving her the Sarah Palin treatment, that is, trying to reduce her to a caricature. Odds are Tina Fey is already working up a Michele Bachmann act for "Saturday Night Live," if she hasn't already got it down pat.

Herman Cain was another winner Monday night. Turns out he can do more than sound like a preacher at a revival; he can talk sense as well as business sense.

As for the also-rans, Tim Pawlenty may have a world of facts and figures at his command, but he could bore a fence post to death with them. Like most speakers without an ounce of charisma, when he does decide to get cute, he gets too cute. As when he coined the term Obamneycare to take a dig at Mitt Romney, the just emerging front-runner in this just starting race for the Republican presidential nomination. That contrived label may have had the shortest shelf life of any in American politics. Even its originator declined to take credit for it when he found himself standing next to Mr. Romney in this chorus line. Instead, he tried to blame that awkward tag, like everything else wrong with the country, on Barack Obama.

Rick Santorum? He needs to make peace with the idea that his time has come -- and gone. Newt Gingrich, alas, remains Newt Gingrich; he should have resigned from his campaign when his staff did. He's old 1990s hat. As for good old Ron Paul, isolationist in foreign affairs and a money crank at home (he's still obsessed with the evils of the country's having a central bank), well, if he ever tires of presidential politics, he would make a great addition to any museum of living history, bless his antique heart and mind.

Here's the scariest prospect of all: There's a lot more of this kind of thing still to come. The not so great race for the GOP's presidential nomination may have only begun to bore.

Paul Greenberg Archives

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

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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