web analytics
December 11, 2016 / 11 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Fed’

A Country Fed Up With Politics As Usual

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

I was a young girl in 1980 when Ronald Reagan was nominated at the Republican National Convention in Detroit, the city I grew up in. I remember the excitement in the air, the fanfare that engulfed a depressed city that was still close enough to its glory days to recall them and yearn for their return, yet far enough to sense that they might never come back.

I remember the red, white, and blue balloons that flitted in the air, along with hopes for a redeemer in the form of this new nominee who radiated optimism in the form of pragmatism. And I recall being proud to be part of a process that people believed in; a confidence not owing to my youth or naiveté but to an instinctive trust in America’s exceptionalism and its system.

Almost four decades later, politicians are still clamoring to identify with Reagan and his politics. His famous invocation of the “shining city on the hill” was the most quoted phrase during last month’s Republican National Convention. Even President Obama, in his address to the Democratic convention in Philadelphia a week later, mentioned that “Ronald Reagan called America a shining city on a hill.”

However, no amount of summoning up that shining city is enough to make it reappear today. Irrevocably altered, the American landscape has changed so that the shining city seems more elusive than ever.

Detroit has crumbled and never recovered. The dreams its citizens harbored in 1980 deflated like the balloons that teased an audience into thinking its grandeur might return. The inflation and long, winding gas lines that characterized Jimmy Carter’s incompetence and were responsible for Reagan’s landslide victory disappeared during the Reagan years, but the country would, over the ensuing decades, regress on several levels and face crises far more severe.

We are now on the road to a $20-trillion dollar deficit. Government regulations are stifling those American businesses that are still afloat. Obamacare jacked up healthcare prices for precisely the people it was supposed to help and continues to threaten small businesses. Illegal immigration, with all its costs and damages, is rampant. The quality of education and our military are continually being downgraded. Half the nation is on food stamps and other government programs. And of course the threat from radical Islam looms ever larger and more dangerous.

If this sounds like some sort of doomsday scenario, it is. All the more so because the economic deficit plaguing America is accompanied by a moral and cultural deficit. Driven by agenda-based groups and the media, America is a different country now from the one I grew up in. What was taboo then is now accepted and celebrated; what was opposed then is now silenced and excused. And an ancient vice squad has been replaced by its inverse – the PC Patrol.

Social mores no longer reflect a Judeo-Christian belief system. Nowadays, the more deviant the behavior, the more likely it is to be flaunted. Single motherhood is an acceptable and common alternative to marriage. Gay marriage is applauded, when as late as 1990 homosexuality was still classified a mental disorder by the World Health Organization. And who could have predicted that crossdressers and transsexuals would become the latest aggrieved minority in the liberal imagination?

We are a country whose young people are being taught to glorify America’s enemies and vilify its friends. Allies like Israel, long championed as the only democracy in the Middle East, are castigated by radicals who then incite politicians against it. And a racial divide built on a false narrative threatens the security that used to blanket this country.

True, many Americans may be thriving individually, but collectively our nation is on a downward spiral. And those who are leading it or who aspire to lead it are cheerleading the descent rather than trying to prevent it.

The relationship between culture and politics is an interdependent one, as is the relationship between voter and politician. Which is why this upcoming election is so profoundly significant. It is not just an election between two candidates and two parties whose differences range as far as bubble up or trickle down.

According to a study by the Pew Research Center, in 1994 only 30 percent of Democrats considered themselves liberal, a number that doubled by 2014. This problem is confounded by the reality that what is deemed liberal today was thought extreme or radical twenty years ago. Consider an Iowa poll earlier this year that revealed that 4-in-10 likely Democratic caucus-goers described themselves as socialist. Thus, the Democratic platforms of twenty years ago and today are similar in virtually nothing but party name.

The fact is, millions of Americans would not have felt “the bern” had the climate not been ripe for such an embrace. Bernie Sanders tapped into an enormous subset of Americans who apparently slumbered through the end of the Cold War and the abject failure of brutal communist regimes. And Hillary Clinton continues to pander to that very crowd by painting a rosy and disingenuous picture of what America would look like with even more government handouts.

An even clearer reflection of the country’s discontent came from the other side of the political spectrum, as political novice Donald Trump, endlessly mocked by the nation’s elites, stormed through the Republican primaries, leaving the campaigns of more than a dozen mainstream establishment politicians a smoking crater.

With so many Americans of differing political views agreeing that the country is way off track and that conventional politicians don’t hold the answer, there is at least some reason for hope. The clock probably can’t be turned back to that shining city on a hill, but we still might be able to make America great again.

Sara Lehmann

Shekel Dollar Rates Breaks Year High at 3.64

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

The shekel-dollar rate continued its non-stop climb Monday and reached beyond 3.64 shekels to the dollar but is near a short-term resistance level of 3.66

The rate two months ago was 3.40, and analysts were predicting a further drop, but The Jewish Press reported here before the recent rise that the situation of everyone being of the same opinion was a sure sign that a reversal to the upside was in sight.

However, our previous report saw resistance around 3.62, a level that easily was broke but still is only 2 cents from the next level of 3.66

The dollar has risen against almost all foreign currencies this summer after years of being in the doldrums. The Federal Reserve Bank has given clear signals that the  near-zero prime interest rate will rise next year, which will give investors a higher return for putting dollars in the bank.

The shekel had been strong, translated into a low shekel-dollar rate, for several years until this summer. The Israeli currency was strengthened in part by the prospect of Israel becoming an exporter of natural gas, but a slowdown in the economy, hastened by the war in Gaza, regional turmoil, and the tough government choice of having to raise taxes or the debt ceiling have combined with the strong dollar to send the shekel-dollar rate north.

This is good news for anyone with money in shekels or who gets paid in dollars because the conversion rate back into shekels is becoming higher each day.

That is equally true for Israeli-based international companies, whose earnings have taken a hit in recent years because of a decline in the shekel-dollar rate.

A cheaper shekel helps increase exports and tourism because more dollars buy more shekels.

On the downside, the higher shekel-dollar rate reflects pessimism over the local economy, which until last year was one of the strongest and most stable in the world, surviving quite well even the global bust in 2008.

“The economy is slowing down sharply, and when you combine this with the fact that Israel is part of the global picture, it’s likely that the shekel will continue to weaken,” Robert Carmeli, overseas funds manager at Migdal Capital Markets to told Globes business newspaper.

He and others are predicting that the shekel-dollar rate will approach 3.80 by the end of the year.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Stanley Fischer Confirmed as US Fed’s No. 2

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Former Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer is back in the United States.

Fischer has just been confirmed by the U.S. Senate Banking Committee to become the Vice Chairman of the powerful Federal Reserve Board, serving as the Fed’s number 2 after Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen.

The unanimous vote came Tuesday along with approvals for the appointment of Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs, Lael Brainard, and Fed Governor Jerome Powell, for another term.

Fischer served as the Governor of the Bank of Israel from May 2005 until June 2013.

He came to Israel from his position as Vice Chairman of Citigroup, and President of Citigroup International.

Fischer also served as First Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, and Vice President, Development Economics and Chief Economist at the World Bank.

He was born in Zambia in 1943, received his Bachelor of Science degree in Economics at the London School of Economics and his PhD in economics at MIT.  Fischer held various positions as a professor, including one as a visiting professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Hana Levi Julian

Obama Plans to Name Stanley Fischer as Vice Chairman of the Fed

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

The Obama administration is close to announcing that former Israel Bank Governor Stanley Fischer will take over the number two position at the Federal Reserve Bank under recently confirmed director Janet Yellen.

Fischer was hoping to be named head of the Fed,  but at 70, his age was a barrier.

Fischer is widely respected in financial circles, and he has been credited, perhaps too much, with having steered Israel’s economy to become one of the world’s strongest  during the global crisis after the 2008 financial fallout in the United States.

Fischer also is seen as being responsible for keeping down the value of the shekel against the dollar so that exports would not suffer.

He left the United States to take over as Governor of the Bank of Israel in 2005, agreeing to make aliyah because the job required his becoming an Israeli citizen. However, his Zionism lasted only as long as he wanted to stay on the job. He quit in the middle of his second term earlier his year and moved back to the United States.

Since quitting, he has been more vocal in his opinions that Israel must concede to most Palestinian Authority demands.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Summers, Harvard’s First Jewish President to Replace Bernanke

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Lawrence Summers, who was the first Jew to become president of Harvard University, will replace Ben Bernanke to head the Federal reserve, the Japanese newspaper Nikkei reported early Friday morning. It cited unnamed sources.

Bernanke’s term expires in January, and Summers was competing with Janet Yellen, currently the vice chairman of the Fed, for the post. Stanley Fischer, who recently quit in the middle of his second term as Governor of the Bank of Israel and returned to the United States, reportedly wanted the post. His age was one major factor that kept him from being a front runner.

Summers’ mother was of Romanian-Jewish ancestry, and his father, whose father’s name was Samuelson, was Jewish. Both parents were economist, and Summers Is the nephew of Paul Samuelson, known to thousands of university graduates for his textbooks on economics.

In 2002, Summers wrote of himself, “I am Jewish, identified but hardly devout.”

Jewish Press News Briefs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/summers-harvards-first-jewish-president-to-replace-bernanke/2013/09/13/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: