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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 Apr. 12, 2013/ 2 Iyar, 5773

Obama's Budget And The Appearance Of Reform

By Charles Krauthammer




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Well, at least we're starting to get the procedure right. Washington has rediscovered the beauty of the boring. It's called "regular order," using the normal, routine, constitutional process to arrive at, for example, a budget.

Normal had disappeared during the Obama years. Republicans duly submitted annual budgets, which the president then used for target practice, most famously demagoguing Paul Ryan's 2011 budget as un-American.

Meanwhile, the Democratic-controlled Senate simply stopped producing budgets for four years.

And the ones the White House put out were so preposterous that, for example, the 2011 version was rejected by the Senate 97-0.

What little progress that was made came by way of crisis backroom deals orchestrated by Gangs of This or That. One gave us a sequester that everyone purports to deplore.

Another gave us the naked tax hike of the "fiscal cliff."

And none produced a written record of actual, written offers that could serve as the basis for serious, open negotiations.

Ad hoc, person-to-person negotiations generally require a high level of trust. The great virtue of regular order is that procedure can substitute for trust. And now we see its first fruit: Each side has finally had to show its cards.

Now the bad news. The cards laid down by the White House are quite unimpressive. The 2014 budget is tax-and-spend as usual. The actual deficit reduction over a decade is a minuscule $0.6 trillion — out of a total spending of $46.5 trillion. And every penny of this tiny reduction comes from tax hikes. Nothing from spending cuts, which all end up getting spent elsewhere.



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Moreover, where's the compromise? The Obama budget calls for not only more spending than the GOP's, but more than the Democratic Senate's as well. For just FY 2014, it even contains $160 billion more spending, and $128 billion more deficit, than if the budget — that Obama purports to be cutting — were left untouched!

True, President Obama has finally put on the table, in writing, an entitlement reform. This is good. But the spin, mindlessly echoed in the mainstream media, that this is some cosmic breakthrough is comical.

First, the proposal — "chained CPI", a change in the way inflation is measured — is very small. It reduces Social Security by a quarter of a penny on the dollar — a $2,000 check reduced by a five-dollar bill.

Second, the change is merely technical. The White House itself admits that the result is simply a more accurate measure of inflation. It's not really cutting anything. It merely eliminates an unintended overpayment.

Finally, the president made it clear that he doesn't like this reform at all. It's merely a gift to Republicans. This is odd. Why should a technical correction be a political favor to anyone? Is getting things right not a favor to the nation?

What the budget is crying out for is some entitlement reform that goes beyond the bare-minimum CPI revision that just about every deficit commission of the last 15 years has recommended as an obvious gimme. The other obvious reform is to raise the retirement/eligibility age for Social Security and Medicare to match longevity. These programs were meant to protect the elderly from destitution, not to subsidize almost one-third the adult life of every baby boomer.

Given the president's distaste for even chained CPI, it's hard to see him ever agreeing to a major reform on the retirement age. Nonetheless, the proposition deserves testing — through a major GOP concession on revenue.

By way of tax reform. The landmark 1986 Reagan-Tip O'Neill tax reform was revenue neutral. It closed tax loopholes and devoted the money to reduce tax rates. As I suggested last month, the GOP should offer Obama a major concession: a 50% solution in which only half the loophole money goes to reduce tax rates. The rest goes to the Treasury, to be spent or saved as Congress decides.

This seems to me the only plausible route to a grand compromise that restores the budget to fiscal health. Its chances are remote. But they are mildly improved by a return to a regular order in which these kinds of compromises could be worked out over time, in debate, in committee, in Congress.

Can the Democrats, now gagging on just chained CPI, agree to a major entitlement reform like an adjusted retirement age? And are there enough Republicans who, for their part, are prepared to offer a 50-50 split of loophole revenues?

Game on. By regular order.

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