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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 January 17, 2010 /2 Shevat 5770

Congress's error of commission

By George Will



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | You know the foreboding you feel while watching the steamier Greek tragedies, when dynasties are falling and sons are marrying their mothers and everyone is behaving badly and you are thinking: Really, things cannot continue like this.

Washington feels that way on the rare and fleeting occasions when it really thinks about the nation's looming crisis of public finance. The crisis, which is obvious and inevitable, combines unfulfillable entitlement promises and unsustainable budget deficits. So Washington is succumbing, yet again, to an idee fixe, which is usually, and in this case, scary.

The awful idea is for Congress to divest itself of the core competence that the Constitution vests in it — the power to make the taxing and spending choices that shape the nation. This power would be given to an 18-member panel assigned to solve the budgetary crisis.

Under legislation drafted by Sens. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), and endorsed by 33 other senators, the Bipartisan Task Force for Responsible Fiscal Action would be composed of 16 members of Congress (four each selected by the House speaker and minority leader, and the Senate majority and minority leaders) plus the Treasury secretary and someone the president selects. The panel would propose spending cuts and tax increases to put the government on a glide path to solvency. The menu of proposals would be guaranteed an up-or-down vote — no amendments permitted — in both houses of Congress.

This is patterned on the commissions that were charged with deciding which military bases — more than 300 of them, it turned out — would be closed after the Cold War, a problem deemed too threatening to local sensibilities for Congress to cope with it. The Conrad-Gregg task force is the latest iteration of the "let's all hold hands and jump off the cliff together" school of government, with this difference: Closing bases is small beer compared to the task force's far-reaching mandate.

There are two objections — each is sufficient — to the task force. One is procedural, the other is substantive.


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Fiscal Times story in The Post on the task force idea, a sentence that seems bland only because of this city's advanced state of constitutional decadence: "The White House has been talking to Congress to try to craft a proposal that would not wholly relinquish congressional control over major decisions on taxes and spending."

Wholly? The oath of office for representatives and senators does not commit them to partially or occasionally or when convenient "support and defend," and bear " true faith and allegiance" to, the Constitution and "faithfully discharge the duties" of their offices.

Substantively, the task force would be a means of conscripting Republican participation in huge tax increases. There are precedents. The 1983 Greenspan Commission that "fixed" Social Security permanently (permanence is not what it used to be) involved large and immediate tax increases and small and delayed trims to benefits. The year after the 1990 budget summit, which resulted in President George H.W. Bush's renunciation of his "no new taxes" pledge, the budget deficit almost doubled.

Were the Conrad-Gregg task force to come to a consensus, it almost certainly would be that Congress must make the supposedly "difficult choice" of spending more of other people's money. Fortunately, the task force probably would be paralyzed by the requirement that its proposals must be endorsed by at least 14 — 78 percent — of its members. Given the difficulty of getting 60 percent of the Senate to agree on anything important, a 78 percent consensus on raising taxes and cutting entitlements will be extremely elusive.

Year one of the Obama administration was devoted to deliberately exacerbating the fiscal crisis. The gusher of spending, combined with the new multitrillion-dollar health-care entitlement, is half of liberalism's plan to radically and permanently increase government's grasp on the nation's wealth. As a response to the crisis, the task force would produce the other half.

Armies on the march are supposedly no match for an idea, especially a bad one, whose time has come. But what armies cannot defeat, monetary incentives might. So, the Gregg-Conrad legislation should be amended to include this language:

"During the life of this task force, which will perform Congress's fundamental duties, all senators and representatives will be considered on vacation and will not be paid. If the task force's recommendations are accepted by Congress, there will be no congressional pay until 2050."

This would be a Madisonian measure, altering incentives in order to encourage responsibility. Let's vote.


Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

George Will's latest book is "With a Happy Eye but: America and the World, 1997-2002" to purchase a copy, click here. Comment on this column by clicking here.

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