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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 18, 2009 / 22 Adar 5769

Mixing politics and bonuses doesn't pay

By Jonah Goldberg


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Hats off to Larry Summers. The president's chief economic advisor told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos on Sunday that there's nothing to be done about the fact that American International Group is contractually obliged to pay millions of dollars in bonuses to thousands of employees, some of whom helped ruin their company — and, to some extent, the national economy. "We are a country of law; there are contracts. The government cannot just abrogate contracts."


From what I can tell, the bonuses do stink — although some are as small as $1,000 and presumably go to people who had no significant part in the credit-default-swap-derivative mania of recent years. But let's assume that they're all gratuitous. Summers was still right.


When the federal government, on behalf of taxpayers, opted to essentially nationalize AIG — we now own 80 percent of the company — we made a choice to keep it alive. If the firm had gone out of business through bankruptcy — what the gods wanted in the first place — there would be no bonuses. But we chose not to do that. Which means those bonuses are just one more toxic debt for which we are on the hook. For good or ill, we chose to defy the natural order. And now we own this monstrous white elephant.


Here's a good rule of thumb: When you buy an elephant, you can't refuse to buy the manure that comes with it. You can try, but, soon enough, you'll be knee-deep in problems anyway. And they'll continue to pile up no matter how loudly you complain, "This isn't what I paid for."


Unfortunately, it looks like Summers is fighting a losing battle.


New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is getting set to churn out subpoenas to investigate the bonuses. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) demanded that AIG Chief Executive Edward Liddy, who came aboard after these contracts were signed and the company imploded, resign. Somehow I doubt that would make hiring a new caretaker any easier.


Meanwhile, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) wants to fire anyone who takes the bonuses. "These people may have a right to their bonuses. They don't have a right to their jobs forever," Frank said on NBC's "Today" show Monday. "Forget about the legal matter here for a second. These bonuses are going to people who screwed this thing up enormously, who made terrible decisions."


One wonders, given that logic, why Frank is accepting a congressional pay raise considering his role in the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac debacle.


Later on Monday, President Obama caved to the populist chorus. He said he asked Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who also helped oversee the mess we're in, to "pursue every single legal avenue to block these bonuses and make the American taxpayers whole." Obama said all Americans ask "is that everyone, from Main Street to Wall Street to Washington, play by the same rules. That is an ethic that we have to demand."


Again, an interesting standard given how many tax cheats Obama has invited into his administration, starting with our supposedly indispensable Treasury secretary.


Still, hypocrisy aside, Obama is right that everyone should play by the same rules, and that's called the rule of law, as Summers suggested.


We should have learned from the government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac what dangers lie ahead: The rule of law and political manipulation of the economy don't mix well (Indeed, AIG's toxic loans were made with considerable regulatory and political oversight). Liddy — the front-line sweeper behind the AIG elephant — has already warned the administration that letting politics dictate salaries and bonuses will make it difficult for the firm to retain talented staff.


But the unintended consequences surely won't end there. What signal does it send when the president and Congress make it clear that they will revisit legal contracts that run afoul of populist outrage? Already, many banks that have received bailout money are returning it — or trying to — because the political strings attached hinder them against competitors. Worse, the highly politicized climate requires financial firms to become dependent on the whims of Washington, which can't help thaw out frozen credit markets, particularly when Geithner has yet to explain what his actual policy will be.


Wells Fargo Chairman Richard Kovacevich, who was forced against his better judgment to take TARP funds, is livid with the Treasury secretary. "Is this America," he asks, "when you do what your government asks you to do and then retroactively you also have additional conditions?"


The New York Times reports that the administration is worried about a coming "populist backlash." It's right to be worried. But further blurring the lines between politics and the market isn't the answer. That's how we got in this mess in the first place.

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