5-11 Tammuz, 5779 July 8-14, 2019 -- THE JEWISH OBSERVER, LOS ANGELES -- 625th Web Ed.
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IRAC FIGHTS AGAINST FAMILY SEPARATION IN ISRAEL
By RABBI NOA SATTATH
The Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) is working to prevent the deportation of Svetlana, potentially separating her from her two children, Adam, 5, and Ariel, 8. By the end of the month, Svetlana must either take Adam and Ariel with her to Moldova, a country they have never been to, separating them from their grandparents and the only country they have ever known, or she must leave them behind.
Svetlana, a native of Moldova, arrived in Israel for work in 2009. While in the country, she met and married an Israeli Jew, and the couple had Ariel and Adam. During their marriage, Svetlana and her husband began the process of obtaining citizenship for Svetlana. However, even though Svetlana had always met the criteria for receiving citizenship, immediately after her husband’s sudden death, which occurred before the citizenship process was completed, the Ministry of the Interior ordered that Svetlana and her two older children from a previous marriage must leave the country and return to Moldova.
The Legal Aid Center for Olim (LACO), a division of IRAC, have been fighting this phenomenon of forced Israeli children deportation. In this latest case, LACO submitted a request to the Ministry of the Interior requesting that Svetlana and her children be allowed to remain in Israel on humanitarian grounds, in light of her family’s connection to Israel. The request was denied by a committee from the Population and Migration Authority.
Anat Hoffman, the executive director of IRAC, stated, “We cannot and will accept the expulsion of minor children from Israel without consideration of their welfare, their connection to a loving Israeli family, their right to a family life, and their Jewish father’s desire that they grow up in Israel and serve the country.”
Rabbi Noa Sattath, Jerusalem, Israel
SHATTERING THE MYTH OF “FREE TRADE”
By JAMES D. VELTMEYER, M.D.
If there is one issue that dramatically sets President Donald J. Trump apart from the corporate-political ruling class elites of both parties, it is the issue of trade.
Trump has never deviated from his long-standing view that America’s trade policies over the last several decades have been an unparalleled catastrophe, stripping our nation of its industrial might and manufacturing prowess and millions of high-paying middle-class jobs in the heartland along with it.
The president was advocating fair trade as long ago as the 1980s when U.S. trade policies were transforming Japan into such a global economic behemoth that Ronald Reagan was forced to intervene and impose quotas on Japanese cars and tariffs on motorcycles to save Harley-Davidson from extinction.
Yet, the globalist elite that controls both the Democrat and Republican parties have been addicted to the myth of “free trade” for more than half a century, dating back to 1962 when John F. Kennedy’s so-called Trade Expansion Act launched the process of America’s unilateral disarmament in the trade wars.
At the time, the only three votes against the legislation were stalwart GOP conservatives Barry Goldwater and Strom Thurmond as well as Prescott Bush, father and grandfather of future presidents.
JFK’s bill seemed relatively innocuous at the time, as few would see where it would eventually lead. The idea of reciprocal tariff-cutting by nations was highly appealing and Americans began enjoying the fruits of cheaper foreign imports, from Honda and Toyota automobiles to the massive assortment of inexpensive Chinese goods, from toys to clothing and shoes.
However, within a decade or so, the Trade Expansion Act’s impact began being felt across the U.S. economy. Our once huge trade surpluses with the rest of the world began shrinking and then disappearing. Foreign imports flooded the American market. Detroit was hammered as Motor City fell victim to cheap automobiles from Japan. The steel industry – once our invincible fortress in war and peace – began closing factories and shedding jobs. The textile industry was devastated. In industry after industry, the negative consequences of “free trade” was clear-cut and indisputable. Yet, American policy-makers continued down their merry path of believing trade deficits didn’t matter, manufacturing jobs were a thing of the past, and the future lay with corporations moving operations abroad to take advantage of lower labor costs.
Libertarians swooned to the siren song of ‘free trade,” arguing that nothing was more important than producing goods as inexpensively as possible anywhere on the planet, regardless of how many American jobs were destroyed in the process or how many American factories were shuttered.
Their views could hardly be classified as “America-first.”
Yet, it is Trump’s trade policies – not those of the libertarian scribblers at Reason magazine or the leadership of both political parties whose donors profit off the exploitation of cheap labor overseas – that are actually in the true mainstream of American economic and political history.
All of America’s founding fathers were dyed-in-the-wool trade protectionists, not “free traders.” All embraced the Hamiltonian economic principles that sought to erect a wall of protection around the infant industries of the newly-born republic. They would never have fathomed the idea of throwing open the markets of the new nation they sacrificed and died to create to the mercantilist traders of the world’s empires, including the British Empire from which they had just freed us. This devotion to protectionism carried through the remainder of the 19th century and into the 20th century. Abraham Lincoln excoriated “free trade,” famously saying that the difference between “free trade” and protection is that with the former “we get the goods but the foreigners get the money,” while with protectionism “we keep the goods and we keep the money.” The great pivotal election of 1896 was fought over protectionism and hard money with victory for William McKinley who believed in a high tariff policy to protect American wage-earners against cheap foreign labor and products.
His successor, Teddy Roosevelt, proclaimed “Thank G[-]d I am not a free trader.”
In fact, it was the Republican Party that was historically the Party of trade protectionism and restrictive immigration laws. It was the Democrats who wanted open borders and free trade.
Of course, trade protectionism got a bad rap during the Great Depression as wo chaps named Smoot and Hawley were forever condemned by libertarians for “causing” the Great Depression with their tariff bill. The truth is far more complicated than that. The fact is the stock market crash occurred months before the Smoot-Hawley tariffs were imposed and they were hardly the highest tariffs imposed in American history. And, they just applied to about one-third of imports at a time when those imports only represented a meager 4% of our Gross Domestic Product. Herbert Hoover’s huge tax increases of the early 1930s as well as the Federal Reserve’s contraction of the money supply by one-third between 1929 and 1933 had far more to do with the Depression than poor Mr. Smoot and poor Mr. Hawley.
Fast-forward to the 1990s, the decade when “free trade” went on steroids. First, we had the North American Free Trade Agreement signed by Bill Clinton in 1993. The president is correct in saying this legislation was probably the worst trade deal in U.S. history. NAFTA led to the loss of over one million U.S. jobs, a $200 billion trade deficit with Canada and Mexico, and the displacement of more than one million Mexican campesinos as well as a doubling of immigration from our southern trade partner. A year later, GATT was ratified leading to the creation of the World Trade Organization which surrendered Congress’ Constitutional authority to regulate trade and foreign commerce to an unelected supranational body. Seven years later, the world’s most predatory trader, Communist China, was ushered into the WTO. Between 2001 and 2017, 3.4 million more American jobs were lost, including 2.5 million in manufacturing and 70,000 factories closed.
And, who benefited from these “free trade” agreements? Certainly, not U.S. workers or their families who saw their jobs cruelly ripped away, wages suppressed, and their living standards shredded. However, the giant global corporations profited immensely as these agreements encouraged them to “offshore” American jobs, relocate to foreign countries, build their factories there and ship their products back into the American market, practically duty-free. It’s called “outsourcing” and it is un-American and unpatriotic. To a large degree, Trump was elected to stop this insanity which only enriches the donor class and the ruling elites at the expense of the American family.
The president’s policies are working. By imposing tariffs on China, renegotiating NAFTA, and killing TPP, manufacturing jobs by the tens of thousands are returning to the United States. Factories are reopening at home as the incentive to move abroad has been removed. The American heartland, states like Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, is starting to come back to life. We need to continue and build on these successful policies. Congressman Sean Duffy of Wisconsin has proposed the U.S. Reciprocal Trade Act which would impose the same tariffs on foreign nations that they impose on American goods. Do you know that Communist China imposes 40% tariffs on U.S. automobiles and India levies a 100% tax on U.S. motorcycles? It is time to replace the discredited libertarian classroom theory of “free trade” with “fair trade” policies that place the interests of American workers and families ahead of the profiteering of faceless global corporations that owe allegiance to no flag, no creed, and no nation, least of all the United States of America.
Dr. James Veltmeyer, La Jolla, CA
JULY 4TH AND THE AMERICAN SPIRIT
By GLENN MOLLETTE
The fourth of July is here and all Americans hopefully will embrace the day without fear, total liberation and the American spirit.
Nik and Lijana Wallenda on Sunday night, June 23 in crazy, outlandish, courage, extreme athleticism and faith loudly proclaimed the American spirit -- pursuing life and overcoming fear. Of course it is sometimes easier said than done. Walking a high wire 25 stories above Times Square, New York and for 1,300 feet they talked, sang, praised Jesus and made the palms sweat of millions of Americans who were frozen to their televisions. They did what I would never even consider.
My initial reaction to their wire walking was "these people are crazy." However, the Wallenda's are super talented, phenomenal athletes who looked like Marvel comic super humans as they wire walked with mega million dollar billboards lit up behind them. I can't imagine the strength, rehearsal and nerve it took for such an accomplishment. I understand walking across an active Volcano is their next goal. Again, it sounds crazy to me but hey, go for it and I'm sure I'll be watching with sweaty palms.
The Wallenda's message to the world is overcoming fear. Lijana suffered from multiple injuries from another high wire act where her family fell, that has been replayed on television numerous times. Her brother Nik worried if she would ever be able to try another high wire effort again. Before the world she overcame her fear, proclaimed her faith in G[-]d and did what most no one else could ever imagine even trying.
Most of us cannot imagine what was going through the minds of 56 men on July 4, 1776, when they met in Philadelphia to pass a resolution declaring their independence from England. There was fear of what lay ahead and what they did that day would cost them greatly in the years to come. However, they overcame their fear, moved forward and their new way of thinking about government would change the course of human history.
Visit almost any cemetery in America and you'll find grave markers of American soldiers who faced cruel enemies on battlefields around the world. Heroically they embraced and put aside their fear to fight and die for you and me. They are the true American heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and embodied the American Spirit.
This July 4th [let us] be encouraged by the Wallendas. We live in a free country where we have the freedom to try and even do the impossible. If fear is holding you back it's part of the normal process of living and trying. Our forefather's paved the way, and millions of brave Americans have maintained the real spirit of America.
Glenn Mollette, Washington D.C.
GRADUATION TIME IN AMERICA
By GLENN MOLLETTE
Everyone looks forward to graduation. For the high school senior it seemed like the day would never come. The college graduate breathes a sigh of relief that several years of hard work have finally passed. The medical, law, or other various post college graduate may have spent more than one third of their lives achieving their milestone commencement ceremony. Families rejoice at the accomplishment and the graduate is now ready to embark on what the education has been all about - work and often lots of debt to repay.
Statistics vary on educational debt in America. I've read sources that say the average college graduate has debt over $50,000 and some stats are closer to $40,000 with some graduates having debt over $100,000. Most sources seem to agree that about 70% of college graduates have debt and over 40 million Americans owe $1.4 trillion in student loans.
The Federal Reserve reports there are 6.8 million student loan borrowers between the ages of 40 and 49 and that these graduates collectively are $229.6 billion in debt. This means that Americans in their forties with debt from student loans have an average balance of $33,765. The result of this is a decrease in home ownership and the probability that retirement will be pushed up to age 75 for many Americans.
High school seniors should spend some time talking with parents and high school counselors. College is not for everyone. Seriously consider spending the first year at a community college. That is typically a savings of thousands of dollars. Also, seriously consider a trade school. Trade school studies can typically be completed in one to two years. The savings has been estimated to be as much as $75,000 compared to a four-year degree. You will also have a two-year early entry into the workforce. On average you'll earn $10,000 to $15,000 less than average college graduates but you'll have less debt and you might even have better job security. Your job as an electrician, plumber, machinist, pharmacy technician, dental hygienist and many others will keep you in the work force as long as you want to work.
I'm grateful I had the opportunity to complete a college degree and beyond. I wanted to and it's worked out great for me. A college education is a very rewarding option for many of America's young adults but not everybody. Think about it. Make a plan. Talk to others. Don't just arbitrarily go into debt. If you have a dream and a passion that a college degree will help you fulfill then you won't feel so bad paying off debt. If you are clueless about how you will use your college degree then sit down with someone and talk about your life, your goals and your best avenue of achieving them.
It's your life and your future. Make the best of it and happy graduation!
Glenn Mollette, Washington, DC
Apple, Rabbi Dr. Raymond, Jerusalem, Israel, contributing columnist
Mollette, Glenn, Washington, D.C., contributing columnist
Reuben, Liz editor
Sackett, Shmuel, contributing columnist
Sattath, Rabbi Noa, Jerusalem Israel, contributing
Teitelbaum, Israel, contributing columnist
Veltmeyer, James Dr., La Jolla, CA
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