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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 Oct. 28, 2008 / 29 Tishrei 5769

Alan Greenspan: Never mind

By Cal Thomas


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Fans of the original cast of "Saturday Night Live," will recall Emily Litella, a character played by the late Gilda Radner on the "Weekend Update" segment, hosted by Chevy Chase. Radner, as Litella, delivered the weekly "editorial," during which she opined about some outrage or injustice. In the middle of her rant, Chevy Chase would lean over and whisper the truth in her ear, after which Radner would turn to the camera and sheepishly say, "never mind."


Alan Greenspan played Emily Litella last week when he testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, a name that invokes George Orwell at his best. Oversight and reform are "Newspeak" for what this committee has failed to offer, especially when it comes to the behavior that led to the current financial meltdown.


"I made a mistake," said Greenspan, four words that almost never cross the lips of anyone while serving in office. Members of the committee, who had both feared and revered Greenspan when the Golden Goose was laying so many eggs, turned on him like Lex Luthor turns on a Superman weakened by kryptonite.


Were all those rosy scenarios Greenspan once painted solely his fault, or should Congress share the blame for rarely questioning his judgment? The Washington Post said Greenspan was once viewed as "the infallible architect of U.S. prosperity." The newspaper said Congress treated Greenspan "as an oracle." This is religious language, requiring a type of blind faith, or at least more faith than anyone should place in another human being.


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Congress loves to get on its high horse when things go wrong. This is partly to divert attention from its own failed responsibility. Like the suckers who once believed the 19th-century snake oil salesmen — "step right up ladies and gentlemen; this magical potion will cure everything from dandruff to athlete's foot, all for just one American dollar" — many members of Congress were all too eager to shell out whatever it might take to keep voters fat and happy. They were enablers and co-conspirators and share the blame for their failure to provide proper oversight, especially to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.


Notice how, when things came tumbling down, Greenspan, the now former chairman of the Federal Reserve, becomes the scapegoat.


But what about us — yes you reading this newspaper? Snake oil requires a buyer. We wanted to believe the sky was the limit when it came to prosperity; indeed, we came to believe there were no limits. Home values were supposed to go up every year, along with a booming stock market. And with our increased profits we bought more stuff, renting public storage units for the overflow, because marketers told us stuff would make us happy. When we didn't achieve happiness through material gain, we bought more stuff, believing the pot of gold was just at the end of the rainbow and surely our new and expensive (naturally) GPS system could find it.


The prevailing view on Capitol Hill, in the media and with much of the public seemed to be that if one couldn't trust Alan Greenspan, whom could one trust? The answer to that question is the ancient wisdom practiced by those of long forgotten generations. You know them as "old sayings," like, "always live within your means" and "haste makes waste" and this one from the early 17th-century poet, George Herbert: "By no means run in debt; take thine own measure. Who cannot live on 20 pounds a year cannot on 40." For truly ancient wisdom, try this from The Teaching of Merikare: "a fool is he who is greedy when others possess. Life on earth passes away, it is not long..."


One of the nice things about ancient wisdom is that it doesn't expire, like milk left too long in the refrigerator. Those who believed and practiced ancient instructions and virtues aren't sweating the economic downturn. Those who didn't and believed in the "oracle" and "infallible architect" Alan Greenspan, may wish to consider them. Or, they could say, "never mind" and plod on to their next mistake.

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Cal Thomas Archives

JWR contributor Cal Thomas is co-author with Bob Beckel, a liberal Democratic Party strategist, of "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America". Comment by clicking here.

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