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 December 30, 2013/ 27 Teves, 5774

Lost in the maze

By Paul Greenberg

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "Simplify, simplify, simplify!"

--Henry David Thoreau, "Walden"

If there were a single guide to all the policies foreign and domestic of our present administration, it would be: "Complicate, complicate, complicate!"

That goes for everything from how best to appease Iran's mullahs to Obamacare. If there's a way to complicate a policy, our president is sure to find it. If he ever does say anything simple -- for example, "If you like your health-care plan, you can keep your health-care plan" -- it doesn't take him long before he'll find a way to deny, obfuscate, retract and/or generally muddle it. Preferably with the help of a whole new army of lawyers, regulators, bureaucrats, party hacks, PR types and "navigators" to make matters even more complex.

Here's the latest example. It's called the Volcker Rule, named after the long-time public servant who set out to restore the old wall between commercial and investment banking, that is, between the kind of bank that'll lend you money to buy a house or car of start a business, and the kind of bank that may engage in large-scale speculation. And not just with the bank's own federally insured money, but its depositors.'

There was a time, a long time, when that kind of thing was simply against the law -- a law passed in the early days of the New Deal, when the country was in the depths of the Great Depression and well aware of what that kind of "banking" had led to.

The New Deal was overflowing with ideas in its First Hundred Days -- both good and bad, sensible and awful. Its history is a whole Alexandrian library of what works and what doesn't in an economy fighting to recover. From federal deposit insurance, which still works well if it isn't abused, to the Resettlement Administration, which never did. (Any collectivist dream for American agriculture is doomed from conception, American farmers being American farmers.) The New Deal inaugurated both Social Security, which still works smoothly with only a course correction from time to time, and the National Recovery Administration, a voluminous wage-and-price-fixing scheme that only made a terrible economy worse.

But all these volumes of experience on history's shelves grew dusty over time -- as unconsulted and unemployed as so many Americans were during the late and still lingering Great Recession. One of the New Deal's better and clearer reforms was a now antique piece of legislation called the Glass-Steagall Act. It stood for more than six decades against the kind of slicksters who are always thinking up new ways to gamble with other people's money.

Glass-Steagall erected a solid wall between old-fashioned conservative banking and the speculative kind that puts depositors' funds at risk. It was one of the New Deal's first shining contributions to fiscal sanity, and a fitting rebuke to the high-rollers who brought in the Crash of '29.

But as the 20th century ran out, and Americans' memory of history with it, Glass-Steagall was repealed by the Clinton administration and an equally thoughtless Congress. Both acted as if they'd discovered the secret of perpetual prosperity when they were just riding the crest of the dot-com boom before it fizzled.

The New Paradigm, it was called in the booming 1990s. It was that decade's equivalent of the New Era proclaimed in the Roaring Twenties. Neither era lasted very long. Any more than their lessons did. One man who does remember his American history is Paul Volcker, perhaps because he's been part of so much of it, serving ably as chairman of the Federal Reserve under two strikingly different presidents in succession -- Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.

Now an economic adviser to this administration, which tends to swallow up even the best of men, Paul Volcker suggested a way to restrain the kind of speculation by banks-cum-investment houses that led to the financial panic the country has just sweated through. His inspired idea: Resurrect the spirit of the old Glass-Steagall Act, which insured banks but only if they remained banks -- rather than became investment houses, hedge funds, credit-default swappers or casinos by some other name. That old idea now had a new name: the Volcker Rule.

But by the time Paul Volcker's simple rule had become law, it had become an immense regulatory maze, hopelessly muddled by one federal agency after another as they took turns adding to it. Until the new Volcker Rule became as indecipherable as any other "reform" this administration has complicated beyond recognition.

It took the combined efforts of five federal bureaucracies to produce this 900-page puzzle. (The original Glass-Steagall Act ran a full 37 pages.) Those bureaucracies now have begun maneuvering to determine which one will have the final say when it comes to interpreting this new arcane mystery. And the final shape of this maze is still in flux, adding to the uncertainty that still stalks the American economy.

This much is clear: The biggest of the country's big banks will still be allowed to indulge in speculative schemes -- now called financial derivatives -- while a generation of honest bankers and bank examiners will be perplexed by these ever rewritten and always rewritable rules, regulations and riddles.

The moral of this story: There is nothing this administration touches that remains simple. Henry David Thoreau would understand the problem.

Paul Greenberg Archives

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