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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 April 13, 2008 8 Nissan 5768

Horrors of a ‘Crisis’

By George Will


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | During presidential elections, when candidates postulate this or that "crisis" for which each is the indispensable and sufficient cure, economic hypochondria is encouraged, so a sense of suffering is rampant. Recently the Wall Street Journal, like Joseph Conrad contemplating the Congo, surveyed today's economic jungle and cried, "The horror! The horror!"


Declines in housing values and the stock market are causing some Americans to delay retirement. A Kansas City man had been eager to retire to Arizona but now, the Journal says, "figures he'll stay put for another couple of years." He is 59.


So, this is a facet of today's hydra-headed "crisis" — the man must linger in the labor force until, say, 62. That is the earliest age at which a person can, and most recipients do, begin collecting Social Security.


The proportion of people aged 55 to 64 who are working rose 1.5 percentage points from April 2007 to February 2008, during which the percentage of working Americans older than 65 rose two-tenths of one percentage point. The Journal grimly reported, "The prospect of millions of grandparents toiling away in their golden years doesn't square with the American dream."


Oh? The idea that protracted golden years of idleness are a universal right is a delusion of recent vintage. Deranged by the entitlement mentality fostered by a metastasizing welfare state, Americans now have such low pain thresholds that suffering is defined as a slight delay in beginning a subsidized retirement often lasting one-third of the retiree's adult lifetime.


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In 1935, when Congress enacted Social Security, protracted retirement was a luxury enjoyed by a tiny sliver of the population. Back then, Congress did its arithmetic ruthlessly: When it set the retirement age at 65, the life expectancy of an adult American male was 65. If in 1935 Congress had indexed the retirement age to life expectancy, today's retirement age would be 75.


The standard definition of a recession — two consecutive quarters of contraction — means we still are probably several months short of being in one. The 9.9 percent first-quarter decline of the Standard & Poor 500 barely ranks among the 40 worst quarterly losses in the index's history. Leave aside the 39.4 percent decline in the second quarter of 1932. The economy experienced no long-term trauma because of the declines of 10.3 percent, 14.5 percent and 23.2 percent in the third quarter of 1998, the third quarter of 1990 and the fourth quarter of 1987, respectively.


Yes, in January single-family homes in major metropolitan areas lost 10.7 percent of their value from last January. To find such a large decline in a year you must peer back into the mists of prehistory, all the way back to . . . the 1990s. Furthermore, the vast majority of homeowners will remain well ahead, even after the market corrects for housing inflation.


By one measure, between the beginning of 2000 and the middle of 2006, as the consumer price index was rising 21 percent, average housing prices rose 93 percent — and much more in some markets (Miami, 180 percent; Los Angeles, 175 percent; Washington, D.C., 150 percent).


Not long ago there was broad agreement that too much of Americans' wealth was tied up in the nation's housing stock and that the principal impediment to homeownership was not a scarcity of cheap mortgages but the prevalence of high housing prices. Hence deflation of housing prices would be desirable.


So far during this "crisis," the homeownership rate has declined just three-tenths of 1 percent since it peaked in 2004. At 67.8 percent, it remains higher than it was when President Bill Clinton left office.


Subprime mortgages are a small minority of mortgages, and only a minority of subprime borrowers are not making their payments. Casting this minority of a minority as victims of "predatory" lending fits the liberal narrative that most Americans are victims of this or that sinister elite or impersonal force and are not competent to cope with life's complexities without government supervision.


The politics of this may, however, be more complex than the compassion chorus supposes. The 96 percent of mortgage borrowers who are fulfilling their commitments, often by scrimping, may be grumpy bystanders if many of the other 4 percent — those who found the phrase "variable rate" impenetrably mysterious — are eligible for ameliorations of their obligations.


What next? Adults still burdened with student loans have not yet announced their entitlement to relief, but as they watch this subprime drama, they might.

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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