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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 4, 2011 / 2 Tamuz, 5771

Replacing property as a source of wealth creation

By Michael Barone




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | One of the interesting things about our country, the independence of which the Founders declared 235 years ago, is that we have been a property holders' democracy.

This is not something the Founders originally advocated. While they protested taxation by a British Parliament in which they were not represented, they did not think that everyone had a right to vote. Like their British contemporaries, they thought that only those property holders should vote. Otherwise representatives elected by the poor majority would vote to take away the property of the rich minority.

But in the early years of the republic it became apparent that almost all white males were farmers who owned the land they farmed. As property holders, they could be trusted with the vote.

So by the early 19th century just about all the states extended the franchise to adult white males. It would be extended in time to blacks and women as well.

In this property holders' democracy, elected representatives have naturally sought to facilitate the accumulation of property, as Walter Russell Mead has pointed out.

For a century this property took the form of the farm. Government sold land cheaply and on credit and under the Homestead Act gave it away to those who worked it for a few years.

Government set up agricultural colleges and financed agricultural research. It regulated the rates railroads could charge farmers.

In the Great Depression, when 25 percent of Americans still lived on farms, government started subsidizing producers of certain crops. Amazingly, it hasn't stopped, although only 2 percent of Americans live on farms, though one hears that agricultural programs have been on the chopping block in various budget negotiations.

In the 20th century most Americans moved to cities, and the new form of property ordinary folks accumulated was their houses. Government stepped in to subsidize that property too, in the form of low- or no-interest mortgages and tax deductions for interest payments.

For many years these policies worked pretty well. Just as government enabled people to accumulate property in the form of farms, it enabled people to accumulate property in the form of urban and then suburban houses.

Then, as with farm programs, government went too far. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, with support from administrations of both parties, financed loans to uncreditworthy borrowers on the theory that, hey, you didn't really need a down payment or steady income to be able to afford a house.

The result was a housing bubble that burst and produced the weakest economy America has seen since the 1930s. Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner tell the harrowing story in their recent book "Reckless Endangerment." (Buy it at a 44% discount by clicking here.)

So just as the rural farm is no longer a means by which the great bulk of Americans can accumulate property, so the suburban house seems unlikely to be a wealth-accumulating investment for the next generation or two of Americans.

What, Walter Russell Mead asks, will take its place? How will most Americans continue to accumulate wealth and enable us to maintain a robust property holders' democracy?

Finding an answer, it seems to me, must start with recognition of a change that has been occurring for decades and that has accelerated with the financial crisis and recession: The fact that Americans are less likely to work their whole careers in large organizations and more likely to work in small organizations and skip from one to another.

We are less likely to find success and accumulate wealth as small interchangeable cogs in very large machines and more likely to do so as unique contributors to nimble and adaptive enterprises. We can no longer rely on the brand names of our employers but must seek to establish brand names of our own.

That sounds pretty vague, and one problem with a free-market economy is that no one can foresee exactly how it will grow in the future. The Internet holds out many possibilities, but few seem visible initially.

But attempts to resurrect the recent past seem futile. Efforts to restore bubble housing prices seem no more effective than the efforts a century ago to maintain the farm as the focus of national life.

Our property holders' democracy has served us well. Let's hope it leaves the way open for us to develop new forms of wealth accumulation.

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JWR contributor Michael Barone is senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner.




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