The Meaning of the Wisconsin Recall Election

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5 Responses

  1. shaya says:

    Medicaid does not transfer from the young to the old; rather, it transfers from taxpayers to the poor, who are disproportionately young (many of them are children and young mothers).

    Which kind of economic and social welfare model works the best is an empirical question. There’s a lot of evidence the the neo-liberal (economic conservative) model that has taken hold over the last few decades has been bad for the economy and society, transferring wealth from the majority to the 1% (see the books Winner Take All Politics, and the Price of Inequality). Some European countries with high taxes and social expenditures, such as the Nordic countries, have done quite well on economic and social indicators over the same time period. They leave the economy only lightly regulated in some areas (such as hiring and firing), producing high rates of employment, yet provide generous social benefits for everyone.

    Regardless, we need to ask not just what is most effective in creating jobs or whatnot — the question is also what is compatible with Torah. From Avot 2:2 we see that a simple life with part-time work and part-time Torah study is ideal. This is most feasible not in a free market economy, where employers can force workers to work long hours, but rather in a somewhat more regulated economy, such as Netherlands. There, a law guarantees anyone who wants to work part-time a right to do so, with full benefits. Consequently, a large proportion of the people work part-time, leaving free time to do other things (hopefully Torah and mitzvos for the few Jews there).

    A more free-market economy, as you advocate, may or may not increase the rate of economic growth, but it would certainly increase working hours, increase the wealth of a tiny elite while increasing the cost of life for the rest of us, and continue the many absurd contradictions of modern mass industrialized life, from the unprecedented, massive and extreme violations of tzaar baalei chayim in factory farming to the fact that we spend billions on advertising luxury goods while millions of Americans lack basic human needs such as food and shelter. Are the millions of foreclosures going on now even compatible with halacha at all?

    We need to return to a simpler, less unequal, society, focused not on increasing wealth and technology as fast as possible, but on providing people’s basic needs, achieving injustice for the wronged and oppressed, and providing time for everyone to spend as much time on Torah and mitzvos as posible. If Kerala (a state in India) can achieve nearly 100% literacy and a life expectancy over 70 years with an annual GDP/person of only a few hundred dollars a year, surely we can abolish homelessness and dire poverty, and provide sufficient income with most people only working part-time jobs.

  2. L. Oberstein says:

    Interesting that Yated Neeman readers are Fox News followers if they watched TV. There is a real disconnect when so much of their readership relies on the Welfare state for their sustenance but who oppose the very programs they benefit from. I know what I would call it but you wouldn’t print that.
    Obama may or may not be re-elected. This election is about him, not Romney, as it always is for the second term. It depends on the economy and who knows what will be in November.
    What really bothers me is the breakdown of compromise in Washington. Menchlichkeit, meeting half way, putting the national interest above short term political gain, these and other values are out the window. Senators used to live most of the time in the DC area and socialize with one another, now they live in their home states and don’t have these relationships with members of the other party. That is bad for compromise. Instead of seeing one another as good people who love their country, they are ideologues with an agenda. I do not doubt for a moment that were Nancy Pelosi and Read able to, they would ignore the Republicans. It is just that now it is the other way around.
    There are no easy answers and we need bi-partisanship in Washington. If we continue to persecute undocumented aliens, we will just harm our owm economy. Who works in this country any more except the Hispanics. Try to get a maid or a gardener from another group. Why does Microsoft have to open a plant in Canada for all the graduates of US universities who can’t get a green card. The US is losing its edge and we are fighting one another instead of working together. That is the real issue.
    Unfortuantely, the political system we have now,especially when plutocrats can spend unlmited money to advance their pet candidates, doesn’t leave room for compromise. All of us are the losers.

  3. lacosta says:

    rabbi rosenblum did not address the haredi stake in the Democratic welfare apparatus. many en masse voters [ ie hassidic followers] vote their Rebbes’ daas tora , which in a number of cases has preference for the open hand that Democrats offer, even at the price of a halachically proscribed moral agenda….

  4. L. Oberstein says:

    Why is English language frum journalism so one sided? Is there no room for those who are not conservative Republicans in Mishpacha, Ami, etc. Every week there are columnists and occasional contributers who have a very slanted and one sided take on every controversial issue in political life. Neither political party is pure and consistent to Torah values. If one can make the case that socialism is from the Torah, as many did in the Kibbutz Hadati, why do we have to go to the other extreme and side always without exception with one side of the spectrum. It is an issue that bears cheshbon hanefesh.

  5. Phil says:

    Here’s my question: Why are some frum Jews so fixated on the “Tikkun Olam” Judaism of their woefully ignorant conservative/reform/unaffiliated brethren, which is often so at odds with the morals and needs of the frum community? Those two words don’t even appear in any classic Jewish source; Aleinu isn’t discussing socialism!

    Balance is certainly nice but no respected Torah leader ever supported or currently supports socialism; R. Kook, ZT”L certainly didn’t.

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