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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 July 21, 2010 / 10 Menachem-Av, 5770

The Boundless Beneficence of Big Brother

By Jonah Goldberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "Should we let Americans fall off a cliff or should we help them? There shouldn't be a debate as to where the money comes from. I mean, if your brother or your sister needed something, you wouldn't say, 'When are you going to pay me back?'"

That's Jim Chukalas a car-parts manager who has been unemployed for nearly two years. He's received unemployment benefits for 79 weeks and desperately wants those benefits extended again. He feels so strongly about it, he agreed to be one of the White House's human props on Monday.

"It's time to stop holding workers laid off in this recession hostage to Washington politics," President Obama proclaimed with Chukalas at his side. "It's time to do what is right, not for the next election but for the middle class."

While it's hardly new for Obama to claim that anyone who holds a position different from his own is merely playing partisan politics -- that's his default response to all disagreements -- it's at least amusing to hear him suggest that budget balancing is now a sign of pandering to popular sentiments.

Obama had signed an earlier extension of unemployment benefits in November, when the economy was worse. He later bragged that it was "fiscally responsible" and consistent with the "pay-as-you-go" legislation he championed and signed, which says, in Obama's words, "Congress can only spend a dollar if it saves a dollar elsewhere."

Officially, the Republicans do not oppose extending unemployment benefits yet again. Rather, they merely want to observe the rules Obama championed last fall. In other words, Democrats should pay for the spending by finding cuts elsewhere in the budget. What is "fiscally responsible" when Obama is for it, is rank partisanship when he's against it.

But enough with the point scoring, I want to get back to Mr. Chukalas, a father of two and a diligent, decent man for all I know. Again, he says, "If your brother or your sister needed something, you wouldn't say, 'When are you going to pay me back?'"

I don't know about the Chukalas clan, but in my family and my wife's family, and in the families of most people I know, asking, "When are you going to pay me back?" isn't so unimaginable. Sure, in a crisis, kin come to the rescue if they can. But they also usually expect to be repaid once everyone is back on their feet. Does Chukalas have any intention of paying taxpayers back once he gets a job?

"Extending benefits" means paying the unemployed more than they paid into the unemployment system. (The money Chukalas paid into that system -- his money -- ran out long, long ago.) In other words, this is direct assistance from the federal government, which actually means direct assistance from taxpayers, which means Chukalas is really asking for money from complete strangers. Moreover, he thinks all of the moral equities line up on his side of the argument, and that there shouldn't even be a discussion about where the money comes from or any talk of paying it back.

Chukalas is a moral philosopher compared with many of the C-SPAN callers these days who simply demand "their money." By what math is it their money, I wonder, given that 60 percent of Americans get more from government than they pay in taxes.

Now I know this all sounds terribly harsh, and, truth be told, I do not think the government should consider benefit extensions to be loans. Nor do I think it's a slam-dunk argument that such aid should be cut off. This is not a normal downturn.

But I do think this illustrates how fuzzy our thinking is about the role of government. Comparing government to a wealthy brother or sister is, simply, a category error. Can you get a gift or loan from your relatives by shouting, "Give me my money!"?

It turns out, perhaps not coincidentally, that President Obama shares Chukalas' outlook.

On countless occasions he has said that his central vision of government is to fulfill the Biblical mandate to be "my brother's keeper, my sister's keeper." Health care reform, for instance, was an effort to meet this "core moral and ethical obligation."

Leave aside that the Bible does not tell anyone to be their brother's keeper (the phrase appears once, when Cain sarcastically tries to dodge a murder rap from G0d). It is just plain weird that anyone thinks we should all view government as a Big Brother.

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