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 May 5, 2005 / 26 Nissan, 5765

I Love the Obvious

By Michael Long

Mike Long
Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I could barely find a parking place at the mall yesterday. And it was in the middle of the afternoon, weeks removed from any gift-giving holiday. Yet the place was packed.

And therein lies a lesson about politics and the value of common sense.

The crowded, middle-of-the-day mall parking lot says to me that consumers are spending. Therefore they are confident, probably not in scary debt, mostly employed, and prosperous enough to afford to have at least some members of the family age 16 and older not employed nine-to-five.

A little common sense goes a long way. Documented behavior is a far more reliable indicator of economic health than any statistic. Take a look at your checkbook. Consider your pay stub. Check out the lines for summer concerts. And, like I do, see how crowded the malls and Wal-Mart are. That's where the immediate education on this topic can be found.

The range of normal for most statistics is so broad that the numbers get used to support pretty much every position. For instance, real disposable income for the month of March was unchanged from April.

Republican conclusion: Americans' income is holding steady. Yea for President Bush!

Democratic conclusion: Americans' income is stagnant. President Bush can't do anything right.

What it really means… Well, search me. Who knows? But what's obvious? I don't get a raise every month, so if income is holding steady then this statistic is probably okay news. But do not doubt that there is a pundit / economist / partisan / fatalist out there who has already written a thousand words about why this news is somewhere between apocalyptic and clinically depressing.

Philosophers and scientists like to work from first principles— the simplest basis of truth in any subject. So let's go back to first principles.

Take social security. Checks that go out to retirees today are repackaged paychecks from workers working today. The per-person cost of social security is, roughly, the amount of money going to those retirees divided by the number of workers there are to pay the bill. The number of retirees is growing quickly while the number of workers is not— that's the result of the Baby Boom. Therefore, the per-taxpayer cost of social security is going up.

Want to bring it down? Lower benefits, raise the retirement age, or hike taxes. Take your pick— that's all there is.

So there really is a serious problem with social security, contrary to recent Democratic amnesia that they used to say the same thing.

How about liberal media bias? The left says there is no such thing, but let's take a look.

Nearly every major editorial page in America opposed the attack to depose Saddam Hussein. The news pages featured prominent stories questioning the motives of the administration. President Bush was portrayed as in "a rush to war," though he sought counsel and support from the United Nations, Congress, and the governments of the world for well over a year—and a dozen years after Saddam was ordered to destroy his weapons of mass destruction yet refused to produce their remains.

There's more. Polls consistently show that an overwhelming majority of reporters are self-described liberals. The volume of coverage for mistakes at Abu Ghraib overwhelmed reports of Saddam's decades of torture of his own citizens, his rape of the environment, the race-based murders he ordered, his quashing of the most basic human rights, his financial support for terrorists— and the list goes on.

So the media do have a liberal slant— unless you believe America is the world's chief exporter of oppression, in which case I do see how a story documenting the damage of Middle Eastern fascism can look like a conservative plot to landmine the road to utopia.

Whatever problems we have would be solved quicker if both sides accepted a range of obvious truths: American healthcare is wildly expensive but our quality of life is amazingly good. The poor here live better than the middle class in many other countries. When your enemies understand that you will kill them, they are less likely to fly airplanes into your buildings. And if people check out at the grocery store with bottled water they could get from the tap for free—water still more expensive than our $2.50 a gallon gasoline—then, as I noted where this essay began, the economy can't be all that bad.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

WR contributor Michael Long is a a director of the White House Writers Group. Comment by clicking here.


© 2005, Los Angeles Times Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate