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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 Nov. 30, 2012/ 16 Kislev, 5773

Over the Fiscal Cliff

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Election, shmelection. When it comes to keeping the enterprise known as the United States of America solvent, aka avoiding the Fiscal Cliff, the country is right back where it was November 6, 2012. With pretty much the same cast of characters in this practiced face-off: the president vs. Congress, specifically the Republican-dominated House.

This now annual showdown might as well be one of those daily re-enactments of the Gunfight at the OK Corral staged to entertain the tourists, and it's getting just as old. Even as the advance billing gets more and more shrill: The End is Near! Bush Tax Cuts Threatened! Automatic Tax Hikes Ahead! All is almost lost! Who will blink first? Stay tuned -- and very nervous.

This recurring crisis has grown familiar, like a melodrama with daily matinees and immediate seating. The president says the government needs more revenue to balance its books, while the loyal opposition says the country doesn't need even higher tax rates. Especially on capital that could otherwise get this stalled economy moving. Welcome to Impasse City.

Both sides are right. So why not find a way to compromise, a way to assure more tax revenue but not raise tax rates all across the board?

Here's how to do it: The voluminous U.S. tax code, perhaps the most indecipherable document since the Book of Revelation, is stuffed with special exemptions, deductions and tax breaks for just about every special interest with friends in Washington. Why not cut out some of those tax breaks? The federal fisc would be a lot healthier for it, and the American tax structure a lot fairer.

Ah, but which exemptions and deductions should be eliminated? And which should be saved? Everybody seems to have his own list of both favorites and expendables. So does every vested economic interest with its own lobby, trade association or foundation.

That's the problem Mitt Romney (remember him?) ran into when he proposed cutting back tax breaks while lowering tax rates during the late unpleasantness known as an American presidential election. Challenged to name just which tax breaks he'd cut out -- that is, just which powerful interest and bloc of voters he would offend -- he came up with an approach that was both politic and fair:

Put a cap on the amount of exemptions and deductions any taxpayer can claim, and let the taxpayer himself choose which ones he'd give up.

Want to forgo the tax deduction for the interest paid on your mansion's mortgage, but keep the one on your gifts to charities? Fine. Or vice versa. So long as you stay within your limit of deductions and exemptions. The choice is yours.

But would limiting tax breaks really provide enough additional revenue to reduce the federal government's increasingly unmanageable deficits? It all depends on how much of a tax break you'd allow each taxpayer to keep.

Capping all itemized deductions at $50,000 a year would mean an extra $749 billion for Uncle Sam over the next decade.

Lowering that cap on such tax breaks to $25,000 a year would raise some $1.3 trillion over the same period.

Mitt Romney had the best and fairest suggestion: Adopt an annual limit of $17,000 per taxpayer, and tax revenue would increase by some $1.7 trillion by 2022. Which would make the country's tax structure more progressive and provide more revenue for the government at the same time.

That holds true even if income tax rates were cut by 20 percent and the dreaded Alternative Minimum Tax eliminated. The AMT becomes a greater and greater drain on the country's middle class as the value of the dollar shrinks and tax-paying Americans find themselves in ever higher income brackets. The thing needed killing years ago.

Note that all these revenue estimates come not from the Heritage Foundation or Cato Institute or some other conservative think tank but the anything-but-conservative bean counters at the Tax Policy Center, a reliably left-of-center source of economic analysis. At last, something left and right, liberal or conservative, could agree on.

Problem solved. Or would be if the more partisan pols in Washington could recognize a fair -- and constructive -- compromise when they saw it. And transform gridlock into opportunity.

The biggest obstacle to such an approach may be the president's attachment to class warfare. He seems fixated on raising tax rates for those Americans making more than $250,000 a year -- even if they'd wind up actually paying more if tax breaks were limited rather than tax rates raised.

If only our president would lay aside his my-way-or-no-way pride at this critical juncture, Washington's wild Thelma-and-Louise drive over the Fiscal Cliff could come to a screeching halt just in time. But that may be too much to hope for. Ideology has a way of trumping common sense among true believers.

Paul Greenberg Archives

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