In this issue

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 Nov. 4, 2005 / 2 Mar-Cheshvan, 5766

The scandal of supply and demand

By Rich Lowry

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Congress is clamoring for an investigation into why it is that when the price of oil spikes, oil companies make higher profits. This shouldn't be a mystery for anyone with a high-school-level knowledge of economics, but that exalted category apparently doesn't include much of the Democratic caucus nor Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, all of whom favor a probe. The twin villains of the oil-profits story are easy to identify: one is called "supply," and the other "demand."

ExxonMobil has stoked the congressional outrage by having the temerity to make a $9.92 billion profit in the last quarter. Anyone who even scanned the headlines in recent months might find this unremarkable, since they have been blaring news of the price of a barrel of oil hitting nearly $70 in reaction to surging world demand, turmoil in the Middle East and monster hurricanes hitting the Gulf Coast.

If executives of ExxonMobil had anything to do with these circumstances, they are the most powerful people on Earth, and perhaps Congress really should try to prevail on them to create harmony in the Middle East and less cyclonic activity in the Atlantic Ocean. ExxonMobil stockholders, on the other hand, might have grounds for a shareholder lawsuit if the company's executives have always been capable of manipulating world conditions to their advantage and have negligently failed to do so. Where were these executives when the price of a barrel of oil was dropping to $10 a barrel in 1998?

ExxonMobil and other oil companies are riding the crest of a boom in what is a notoriously boom-and-bust business. Economics writer John Tamny recalls that when oil prices last soared, around 1980, oil companies were 28 percent of the S&P 500's value. Investment in the industry fell along with oil prices throughout the 1980s and 1990s, and oil companies' share dropped to 7 percent of the S&P 500. Now it is 10 percent and will probably go higher with the prices, before dropping again when prices fall, and so on and so on.

Even in this boom, there's nothing untoward about ExxonMobil's profits. They are big, but it is a big company with big expenditures. What is important is the profit margin. For every dollar in sales, ExxonMobil makes 9.8 cents. McDonald's and Coca-Cola make 13.8 cents and 21.2 cents, respectively. Google makes 24.2 cents, and Merck, Bank of America, Microsoft and Citigroup all make more than that.

As an industry, oil and natural gas are less profitable in terms of cents per dollar of sales than banks, pharmaceuticals, software companies, telecommunications, insurance and a host of others. The most outrageous oil profiteer is government, which has collected $1.34 trillion in revenue from local and federal gas taxes since 1977, more than double the domestic profits of major oil companies during that time, according to the Tax Foundation.

In any case, in a market economy, high profits and high prices are essential. They eliminate scarcity. Investors with visions of dollar signs filling their heads are now rushing into the oil business. That will increase supply. Pinched consumers, meanwhile, are already pulling back on their consumption. Compared with a year ago, gasoline deliveries declined 4 percent in September, the biggest drop in a decade. That will decrease demand. These two trends make for falling prices. Any political interference with this process through price controls or a tax on companies' "windfall" profits will only preserve the conditions for scarcity.

Jerry Taylor of the Cato Institute points out that at a time of a record run-up in oil prices in the late 1970s, President Carter stripped away most of the counterproductive price controls that were in place when he took office. Running against him, Ronald Reagan promised to deregulate even further. So it isn't inevitable that politicians have to react stupidly to high oil prices. There appears, however, during the past 30 years to have been a dramatic increase in economic illiteracy in Washington. Maybe Congress should investigate.

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© 2005 King Features Syndicate