Is the Democrats’ IRS Expansion a Good Idea?

The Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act contains almost $80 billion for the IRS to beef up its enforcement and collection. Is this a good idea?

If we’re going to collect taxes, the agency that does it should operate as efficiently and effectively as possible.
If we can agree on [that], it’s obvious that we ought to give the IRS the funding it needs to do its job.

Most of the money, though, is for stepped-up enforcement — to help the IRS collect more of the estimated $600 billion in taxes that go unpaid every year, much of it owed by rich people who under-report their income.

First, to be clear: This isn’t just about catching cheaters. Innocent, middle-class taxpayers get audited frequently — and the time, effort, and sometimes professional legal or accounting help needed to prove the original tax returns were correct can cost even more than the amount in dispute.

A Year Later, What’s Life Like in Afghanistan?

A year after America’s chaotic exit from Afghanistan, how is the country faring under Taliban rule?

Music is officially banned, and foreign news broadcasts, TV shows and movies have been removed from public airwaves. At checkpoints along the streets, morality police chastise women who are not covered from head to toe in all-concealing burqas and headpieces in public.

Reasonable arguments can be made about what the United States owes Afghanistan following two decades of occupation. But one year after the military withdrawal, it’s clear that existence under Taliban rule has deteriorated across a range of measures — from the economy and security situation to human rights and governance.

It’s impossible not to think that attempts to force Afghan women back into the home will fail in the long term. It’s so obvious that Afghan women are an incredible resource for the country and its place in the world, and that the economy—and society as a whole—will not function without their full participation.

How Will Cost of Living Play into Israel’s Election?

Inflation and rising housing prices are big on Israeli voters’ minds. Will this be the central issue of the upcoming elections?

The problem is that the media in Israel – like the rest of the world – tend to get caught up in the sensational moment while ignoring the story playing out before our eyes that should really be getting our attention. And what is that story? The economy, stupid as James Carville famously said.

According to a survey published Tuesday by the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI), 44% of Israeli respondents said the main factors influencing their decision when voting are a given party’s economic platform and its plan, if any, for addressing the rising cost of living.

Unlike in 2011, my belief is that today’s rising costs must be viewed as a Zionist concern, one that transcends party or ideological differences. Why? Because rising prices will make it increasingly difficult for young people to stay in Israel.

Does Netflix’s New Shimon Peres Doc Get It Right?

Netflix has added “Never Stop Dreaming,” a documentary about the life and legacy of the late Shimon Peres, to its offerings. Does the movie do justice to its subject?

Although Peres didn’t live to see the Abraham Accords signed, the release of “Never Stop Dreaming” on Netflix comes with fortuitous timing as progress and hope continues with Israel’s relationship with Arab states. The filmmakers hope that their film can inspire a positive step forward in those relationships. 

1,409 men, women and children [were] murdered as a result of the Oslo process… [but] instead of falling into disgrace, Peres’s memory now basks in the glory of the new film “Never Stop Dreaming: The Life and Legacy of Shimon Peres,” slated for distribution by Netflix to 190 nations.

What a failed opportunity then, when the dynamism and boldness of the presentation doesn’t do credit to the dynamism and boldness of the subject.

What’s the Legacy of the Munich Eleven?

Fifty years after Palestinian terrorists murdered eleven Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics, Israel’s running team has won a gold at the European Championships in Munich.

There is a lesson in this because the Jews learned something on that terrible day in 1972. It was a shocking lesson and took many years to sink in, but it was very real. The botched “rescue,” the refusal to cancel the Games and the pathetic appeasement of the perpetrators at the earliest possible moment were all based on the single principle: Jewish lives do not matter.

The World Maccabiah just concluded in Israel, and the San Diego JCC Maccabi Games just hosted thousands of Jewish teenagers. Jewish halls of fame across the United States continue to recognize great Jewish contributors to sports. However, we must always do this work with the memory of the “Munich 11” integrated into the program.

…the German government has made a new offer to the victims’ families. However, they are threatening to boycott the ceremonies to protest Berlin’s refusal to provide proper compensation.

What’s New and Delicious in Jewish Cuisine?

A taste of Knafeh, a new way to enjoy pomegranates, and a resurgence of Ashkenazi cuisine.

There were as many varieties as a person could possibly imagine. We ordered strong Turkish coffee, sutlach (rice pudding) and baklava and I tried knafeh for the first time. I was pleasantly surprised by the combination of soft creamy cheese, the crispy shredded phyllo, the nutty pistachios and sweet syrup.

Not only is pomegranate molasses a welcome addition to your kitchen, it is also good for your health. It is rich in B vitamins and vitamin C, as well as polyphenol antioxidants that may boost your immune system, lower your cholesterol, help you maintain a healthy digestive system, and even reduce the risk of some cancers.

There’s a heartening resurging interest in traditional Ashkenazi Jewish dishes. I’m thinking of the simple, everyday variety that are relatively easy to make––even for newborn home cooks who needed a pandemic to work up the courage to get into the kitchen. These aren’t the babkas or holiday briskets that can easily eat up an entire afternoon or more. They’re the pickles, the kasha varnishkes, and haluskis of the Ashkenazi culinary universe…

Today’s Hot Issues

Is the Democrats’ IRS Expansion a Good Idea? A Year Later, What’s Life Like in Afghanistan? How Will Cost of Living Play into Israel’s Election? Does Netflix’s New Shimon Peres Doc Get It Right? What’s the Legacy of the Munich Eleven? What’s New and Delicious in Jewish Cuisine?