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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 Dec. 5, 2008 / 8 Kislev 5769

Silver lining in the downturn

By Linda Chavez

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article | It's time we 'fess up: Nobody has any idea how to get us out of the economic mess we're in. The Big Three automakers were on Capitol Hill again this week begging for a bailout. Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson is considering direct federal intervention into the mortgage market by subsidizing new loans at very low interest rates. The stock market continues its roller coaster ride, down hundreds of points one day, up hundreds the next. Meanwhile, President-elect Obama waits on the sideline with a financial team made up mostly of old Clinton hands, well respected but with only the traditional federal spending stimulus solution in their bag of fixes. No wonder most Americans are holding onto their wallets.

I've long been an advocate that Americans should save more and spend less on stuff they don't need, especially when it's paid for on high-interest credit cards. And a Christmas shopping trip this week to my local mall suggests a lot of people are doing just that.

Spending on Black Friday was up — 7 percent, according to early estimates — but by the following Tuesday, the Northern Virginia mall I visited was nearly empty. In past years, I've found plenty of company, but this time the stores were nearly deserted. Clerks stood around talking to each other, and there seemed to be fewer salespeople even in the high-end stores. The guy playing the piano in Nordstrom looked lonely; the barista at Starbucks seemed bored with no customers waiting to pay several bucks for a caffeine concoction. Sure, there were big sales signs and lots of tinsel decorations, but it hardly seemed like the holiday season.

Conventional wisdom says this is a bad thing. America's economy, after all, runs on consumer spending. If people aren't buying cars and washing machines, or even new cell phones and Blu-ray players, workers will lose jobs; we'll suffer a longer recession; and life will be more difficult for everyone.

But what if this short-term medicine, bitter though it may be, actually makes people behave more responsibly? Maybe those missing shoppers will pay down their credit card or home equity debt if they spend less on gifts this year. Maybe parents will decide that putting away money for college is better than buying their children that Wii set they've been begging for.

Maybe kids will discover that the newest electronic gadget isn't half as much fun as the real thing. Maybe they'll even decide that throwing a real football in the park is better than watching some digitized Tony Romo complete a pass on their game screen. Who knows, a little financial belt-tightening could result in real-life belt-tightening as kids get off the couch and play off those extra pounds they've put on in the digital age.

I know elected officials — especially the new Democratic crew about to flood Washington — want Americans to get out there and spend. But we may be smarter than our politicians. It is not such a bad thing that everyone is looking to pare back their lifestyles. The path we were on was simply unsustainable in the long run.

Those bigger houses most of us couldn't really afford required more energy to heat and cool, and many of the lots they were built on were farther away from where we worked, requiring longer commutes and more gasoline. We had fewer hours to enjoy our homes because we worked and commuted more hours to pay for them. Worse, we spent less time with our kids and spouses. Do we really want to continue this vicious cycle, buying more but having less time to enjoy what we have?

I don't claim to know what will happen to the economy over the next year — and surely the news right now doesn't look promising. But I do think that if we take better control of our own lives and redirect our individual priorities, we'll be better off in the future. Who knows, scaled-back holiday spending could remind us what the season is all about. Giving of ourselves is more important than handing out store-bought goodies. Time spent with loved ones may be the best gift of all.

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JWR contributor Linda Chavez is President of the Center for Equal Opportunity. Her latest book is "Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.)

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