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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 13, 2012/ 23 Sivan, 5772

Obama's 'fine' mess

By Jonah Goldberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The 1990 Italian film "Everybody's Fine" is one of the most depressing films I've ever seen. Starring the late Marcello Mastroianni, it's the story of an old man who tells his wife he's going to visit their grown kids. According to their letters the kids are doing great, but he'd like to see for himself.

It turns out that the kids are all doing badly, and the whole trip is drenched in nostalgia and regret for what might have been. When the father gets home, he can't bring himself to tell his wife the truth, even though -- the audience discovers -- she's been dead and buried for years. In the last scene, we see the old man at his wife's grave, reassuring her, "Everybody's fine."

Listening to President Obama's defenders spinning his claim that the "private sector is doing fine" reminded me of those kids and their dad, all afraid to admit everything's not fine.

One common defense: He was just being ironic or sarcastic.

New York magazine's Jonathan Chait insists that Obama meant it "in the same basic way that I did this week when I was slowly recovering from a horrendous head cold and told people I was 'fine' ...." On Monday, MSNBC host Chris Hayes said on the "Today" show that Obama meant it the way somebody says "I'm fine" when they really mean "You don't have to rush me to the emergency room" after a bloody head injury.

The only problem: There's pretty much no evidence that's how Obama meant it.

In his news conference last week, Obama argued that the private sector isn't holding back the economy, the public sector is -- hence "the private sector is doing fine." When given the opportunity to retract his gaffe, he basically repeated it. "It's absolutely clear that the economy is not doing fine," the piqued president said. "That's the reason I had the press conference." (Something's wrong when you have to explain why you had a press conference.)

Why is the economy "not doing fine"? Because, he explained, the public sector isn't keeping up with the private sector: "Now, I think if you look at what I said this morning and what I've been saying consistently over the last year, we've actually seen some good momentum in the private sector."

And when CNN's Candy Crowley asked Obama senior advisor David Axelrod three times on Sunday for a yes or no answer to the question "Is the private sector doing fine?," he refused to offer anything like a retraction. "It's certainly doing better than the public sector," he said on his third try. Simply: There's been no retraction.

Two things are going on here, one substantive, one political.

Substantively, Obama believes that we can save the economy -- or at least his re-election efforts -- if we open the sluices of more federal spending (with money borrowed from China) and devote it to hiring a lot more government workers. Basically, it's stimulus 2.0 (3.0, really, since Bush had a stimulus too). Obama, as he correctly insisted, has been saying this "consistently." As The Weekly Standard's Jay Cost notes, that the president needs another round of payoffs to his own base is a sign of Obama's weakness.

Politically, however, this is a very hard sell. As we've seen in Wisconsin and California, lavishing more borrowed money on public sector workers is less popular than asking them for some shared sacrifice, particularly among independent voters.

More important, the private sector isn't doing fine. The only reason the unemployment rate is as low as it is, is that millions of Americans have lost hope that it's worth looking for a job. You can't have the weakest recovery in generations and the highest sustained unemployment rate since the Depression and say the private sector is doing fine.

Actually, you can say it; it's just that no one will believe you.

And that's Obama's real dilemma. He can't concede the private sector is doing badly because (1) he wants to burden it even more to spend more on the public sector, and (2) if he admits the private sector is still doing badly, he's conceding the heart of Mitt Romney's charge that Obama has failed economically.

So he's stuck claiming he's done everything right, and the only problem is the GOP's refusal to lavish more money on state governments. And nobody in his family of advisors and supporters has it in them to tell him otherwise. It's like he's talking to a tombstone marked "Obama Campaign 2012."

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