May 22, 2013
They launched the 'Arab Spring' but now yearn for the good old days of a strongman
May 20, 2013
Richard A. Serrano: Is Meir Kahane's assassin now a changed man?
Genetic copies of living people from embryos no longer science fiction
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom :
The Kosher Gourmet by Cathy Pollak:
Jews Inducted into Rock Hall of Fame; Anton Yelchin co-stars in New "Trek" film; Kutcher (but not Kunis) visits Israel; Jewish TV Star Praises Jewish Rap Star
WARNING: This WALNUT CAKE WITH PRALINE FROSTING, perfect for afternoon coffee, is addicting
May 13, 2013
Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo: Why the giving of the document that would permanently change the world could only be done in desolation
David G. Savage:
Church-state, literally? Supreme Court weighing public school graduation in a church
May 10, 2013
Rabbi Berel Wein: Be all that you should be
May 8, 2013
Peter Ford: Why China is welcoming both Israel's Netanyahu and Palestinians' Abbas
Obama administration quietly backs out of appeal over new contraceptive mandate
At Kerry-Putin meeting, US-Russia relations thaw --- a tad
The Kosher Gourmet by Leela Cyd Ross :
Almost too pretty to eat, this colorful salad with Sicilian inspiration will tickle the taste buds and delight your visual sensibility
May 6, 2013
May 3, 2013
Kids, kittens the Same?
With employee perks at struggling Internet pioneer Yahoo! it's hard to tell
Artificial kidney offers hope to patients tethered to a dialysis machine
April 29, 2013
Poland's new Jewish museum celebrates life, doesn't revisit Holocaust
Terrorism in America: Is US missing a chance to learn from failed plots?
Boston Bomber's 'Svengali' Revealed
Tiny satellites + cellphones = cheaper 'eyes in the sky' for NASA
April 26, 2013
Clifford D. May:
Defense in the Age of Jihadist Terrorism
Sharon Palmer, R.D.:
How to feel your best -- with plenty of energy, a healthy weight and optimal mental and physical function -- without driving yourself batty
April 24, 2013
Jewish World Review
Sept. 29, 2008
/ 29 Elul 5768
Are We at an Inflection Point?
You can sum up much of 20th century history by saying that in the 1930s Americans decided that markets didn't work and government did, and that in the 1970s Americans decided that government didn't work and markets did.
The protracted and painful experiences of those decades changed basic public attitudes on the balance between government and markets, between regulation and enterprise, between government aid programs and self-reliance. The breadlines and depression of the 1930s moved Americans in one direction; the gas lines and stagflation of the 1970s moved them in the other.
Which raises the question of whether the financial ructions of 2007-08 (09?) will move them back again. One reason to believe this is possible is the passage of time. Americans in the 1980s and 1990s were ready to accept deregulation and tax cuts and welfare reform because so few of them had personal memories of the 1930s.
In 1992, Bill Clinton ran as a different kind of Democrat because so many voters then had personal memories of the 1970s. Today, fewer do. Half the voters did not reach adulthood until the 1980s. They never sat behind the steering wheel in a gas line or paid monthly bills as inflation was skyrocketing. It's plausible that they may be more open to big government programs than their elders.
Barack Obama and other Democrats have used the financial crisis to spin a narrative. The problem, they say, is deregulation and greed. This is not strictly speaking accurate. Obama and the Democrats opposed tighter regulation of the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and John McCain supported it. Unregulated firms like hedge funds have done well, while heavily regulated banks have had troubles.
But the narrative will be advanced by the Obama-loving media ... and by the passage of a giant financial bailout er, rescue package. The likelihood, as this is written, is that Obama will be elected president and the Democrats will expand their congressional majorities. Possibly even to the 60 votes they need to effectively control the Senate.
In that case, Democrats might be able to move toward nationalized health care finance. Their card-check bill will promote unionization and do to much of the private sector what union contracts have done to the Detroit Three automakers. Higher taxes and overregulation could reduce economic vitality and creativity. Comparable worth laws could have bureaucrats setting private sector salaries. America could move some distance to becoming another France.
Those seeking that outcome would do well to study some history. Some New Deal-Great Society programs have mostly worked well over the long term: bank deposit insurance, securities market regulation. Some worked well for many years but are on the road to something like financial collapse: Social Security, Medicare. But some had adverse economic effects and proved unpopular: high taxes on high earners, industrial unionization.
The economy in the 1930s suffered from what Amity Shlaes in "The Forgotten Man" calls a "capital strike," with unemployment stuck over 10 percent. Take a look at the polls in the 1940 election. If voters had decided on domestic issues, the Democrats probably would have lost. Franklin Roosevelt won because Adolf Hitler, with his then-ally Joseph Stalin, had conquered most of Europe and was threatening Britain and the United States. Roosevelt's experience and his steady hand on foreign policy won him his third term.
The war that followed produced huge economic growth and sharp increases in income equality the biggest such movement in American history. But the war policies government taking up nearly half of gross domestic product, the mobilization of the equivalent of 37 million in the military are not replicable under any circumstances foreseeable today.
Postwar America continued to grow, with help from the John Kennedy tax cuts, declining unionization and (I would argue) the civil rights acts. But eventually, in the 1970s, regulation designed to freeze a static economy in place and macroeconomic policies complacent about the danger of inflation (the big problem in the 1930s was deflation) produced the gas lines and stagflation voters rebelled against. Policies inspired by the inflection point of the 1930s led to a different inflection point in the 1970s.
Are we looking at another inflection point today? Maybe so. Reviewing the long course of history, I think it's obvious that market capitalism, together with the rule of law, hard currency and regulations that ensure transparency and accountability, has produced bounteous growth and the resources to address problems that require government action, like defending the nation and protecting the environment. But voters tend to consider only the history they know. They might do well to look back a little further.
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The New Americans
Now, more than ever, the melting pot must be used to keep America great. Barone attacks multiculturalism and anti-American apologists--but he also rejects proposals for building a wall to keep immigrants out, or rounding up millions of illegals to send back home. Rather, the melting pot must be allowed to work (as it has for centuries) to teach new Americans the values, history, and unique spirit of America so they, too, can enjoy the American dream.. Sales help fund JWR.
JWR contributor Michael Barone is a columnist at U.S. News & World Report. Comment by clicking here.
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