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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
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 Oct. 1, 2009 / 13 Tishrei 5770

Dems Win Lobbyists but Lose Basic Reforms

By Michael Barone




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | As Sen. Max Baucus tries to squeeze a health care bill out of the Senate Finance Committee, and as Sens. Barbara Boxer and John Kerry race to meet their latest deadline to introduce a bill to reduce carbon dioxide, some Democrats wonder whether their congressional leaders and the president who has deferred to them have sought only limited changes rather than more fundamental reform on both health insurance and carbon emissions.

On health care, the House committees and Baucus and Christopher Dodd in the Senate health committee, decided to build a makeshift addition to the health insurance system that grew out of a tax law decision made during World War II. That decision was to give a preference to employer-provided health insurance: The cost of insurance would be deductible for employers and would not be counted as income for employees.

The system insulates health care consumers from costs, with the result that insurance costs have recently crowded out wage increases. As Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden has pointed out, the tax preference is steeply regressive. High-earning employees with gold-plated, employer-provided health insurance get deductions that are worth many thousands of dollars. Those without employer-provided health insurance, or low-earners who are among the 40 percent of earners who do not pay income tax, get exactly zero. If a Republican Congress had designed such a system, it would be attacked as a favor to the rich, and rightly so.

During the 2008 campaign, Barack Obama attacked John McCain's proposal for equalizing the tax treatment of employer-provided and non-employer-provided health insurance, and so it would be embarrassing for him to advocate such a change (though no more embarrassing than reversing the position he took last March on the war in Afghanistan).

There is, however, a ready vehicle for such a reversal, and one with bipartisan support. It's a bill sponsored by Wyden and Republican Bob Bennett to provide equal tax treatment of health insurance and to provide more choices for consumers.

In addition, Wyden has an amendment in the Finance Committee to allow those with employer-provided insurance to get vouchers to buy insurance from the health exchanges available to those without employer-provided plans. They could buy cheaper policies and pocket the savings from expensive employer-provided options.

Labor unions, a strong Democratic constituency, want to maintain the current system because they have obtained very expensive policies for their members. But with only 8 percent of private-sector workers in unions, it seems clear that basic reforms like Wyden's would do more for low-earners and ordinary Americans than the Democrats' current plans.

On carbon controls, Democrats pushed through the House a bill larded with exceptions for politically well-positioned lobbies and with provisions for discouraging carbon emissions that are phased in years from now. Elaine Kamarck, one of Vice President Al Gore's top aides in the Bill Clinton years, points out that a far more effective policy would be the flat-out carbon tax that Gore has long proposed. Many environmental group leaders agree.

During the 2008 campaign, Obama promised to reduce the influence of lobbyists. But on health insurance and carbon emissions, congressional Democrats and the Obama White House have been making dozens of deals with lobbyists. Those deals have left them far short of their intended goals and threaten to increase voters' cynicism.

More fundamental reforms — eliminating the tax preference for employer-provided insurance, imposing a carbon tax — would leave voters and consumers free to adjust to change as they please, rather than trapped in systems constructed by adept lobbyists.

For those of us who are skeptical of government control of the health insurance market, the Wyden-Bennett bill falls short of opening up the marketplace. And for those of us skeptical of the need for imposing massive costs on current economic activity in order to prevent future environmental damage predicted by some but not all experts, imposing a carbon tax seems hugely unwise.

But at least those proposals address major issues in a relatively clear-cut way and tend to minimize the advantage that well-placed insiders can gain in closed-door Washington meetings. The Democrats are having trouble passing convoluted and plainly imperfect health care and carbon-control bills. Maybe they would be better off going back to basics.

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.

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




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