Who really creates jobs?

There he goes again. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor recently told Fox News host Chris Wallace that “the government doesn’t create jobs, the private sector does.” That’s a favorite mantra of Republicans. It may make a good sound bite, but there’s not a bit of truth in it.

For starters, Eric, government created your job and pays you $193,400 a year plus a very generous package of perks like health insurance, indoor parking, a lavish office, a large staff to massage your ego and image, all-expenses-paid world travel, and you’re currently on a five-week paid vacation, one of many you and your colleagues have given yourselves this year.

This is your seventh term in Congress, so you must have some idea of what’s going on. I know you’ve had trouble getting the House to pass spending bills this year, but surely you must know where that money goes.

A huge chunk of it goes to that famous five-sided building just across the river in your native state of Virginia. How many people work for the Department of Defense and for defense contractors — big and small — across Virginia? For that matter, how many besides you work for the legislative branch of government?

Eric, those are all government-created jobs. 

When you drive home to your district around Richmond, you use I-95. Guess who paid for that nice piece of highway. 

And if you go a little farther south, you’ll find the largest single employer in your state, the Newport News shipyard. If you don’t believe government creates jobs, just try canceling all the federal money going into the yard — you yourself have voted to send billions of tax dollars there — and see how the unemployment rolls explode. 

Right now, they’re building two nuclear aircraft carriers, the USS Gerald R. Ford and the USS John F. Kennedy, at $9 billion each, not including what it costs to equip them with everything from toilet paper to advanced missiles and jets, and then the rest of the ships that make up each carrier task force. 

Each carrier alone will have a crew of 4,300 people. They get paid. They have families. They spend their government paychecks on food, housing, clothing and everything else — creating many thousands more jobs, most of them for those small businesses Republicans say they champion.

You’re not alone, Eric. All of your colleagues compete to spend federal tax dollars in their districts (even nice Jewish boys like you have a big appetite for that species of pork), citing the importance of creating jobs for constituents, all the while most of those on your side of the aisle are chanting their mantra about how government doesn’t create jobs. Who do you guys really think you’re kidding?

You’re not stupid, Eric, so don’t give us that anti-government bubbe meise, especially while you’re doing so well on the public payroll.

Government builds highways, bridges, airports, dams and other infrastructure that not only creates millions of jobs but also helps millions more people get to and from work, shopping, vacation and everywhere else.

Government workers fight our wars, protect our borders, provide security at airports and in the airways, maintain our marvelous national parks, protect the health and safety of our food and drug supply, teach our children, care for the poor.

And don’t forget everyone at the state and local levels as well. In all, about 22 million Americans work in the public sector.

You’re leading a congressional delegation to Israel this month, and you’re going to boast how the Jewish state is the largest single recipient of American foreign assistance. That $3.1 billion is a huge chunk of the minuscule proportion of every tax dollar that goes for foreign assistance — but most of that money is spent in this country and actually creates jobs right here at home as well as alliances abroad.

I’m not denigrating the private sector, just trying to dispel any thought that it is the great job creator and government just gets in its way. It’s time to stop using those 22 million public employees (except for yourselves, of course) as whipping boys and treat them with respect. 

Many who tell us the private sector is the real job creator like to point to Wal-Mart, the largest private employer in the United States with about 1.4 million employees. It is second only to the Defense Department.

Wal-Mart — like Target, Gap and other giant retailers — is also a job creator in China and Bangladesh, where working conditions for the women and children who make the clothing and other goods for those stores are notoriously unsafe and hours unbelievably long. Wages can be as low as 3 cents an hour in China’s “Special Economic Zones” and often between 13 and 26 cents in other Asian sweatshops.

Next to those wages, the federal minimum wage of $7.25 must look very generous to you even though it is well below the poverty level; I guess that’s why you’ve consistently voted against raising it. You and Speaker John Boehner voted “no” the last time it was raised, in 2007 during the Bush administration, and now that you’re running things in the House, you’re still opposed. 

President Barack Obama wants to raise it to $9 an hour by 2015, which still isn’t a livable wage, and Democrats have a bill to make that $10.10. When they brought it to the floor, you and every other Republican voted “no.” You’re opposed because those job creators you say you represent complain that could cut into their profits.

Here’s a little math for you. A minimum-wage earner with a family of four who works 40 hours every week of the year makes $15,080, and probably gets no health coverage benefits; that’s $8,470 below the poverty level. And now you’re pushing for deep cuts in food stamps for the poor. Your salary, Eric, is nearly 13 times greater, not counting your very generous benefits package and pension.

Raising the minimum wage is not a profit thief but a job creator. The extra money will immediately be spent and percolate up through our ailing economy, helping those small businesses create more jobs. So, Eric, who’s the real job creator? Both the government and the private sector. It’s a symbiotic relationship too often obscured by demagogic politicians.

Douglas M. Bloomfield is the president of Bloomfield Associates Inc., a Washington lobbying and consulting firm. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.

Sudan blames Israel for deadly airstrike

Sudan’s foreign minister blamed Israel for a bombing attack on a car near the country’s port city that killed two.

“This is absolutely an Israeli attack,” Ali Karti told reporters Wednesday in the capital of Khartoum, Reuters reported.

The day before, an unidentified plane reportedly flew into Sudanese airspace from the Red Sea and bombed the car, killing its two passengers, before flying back the way it came. The plane evaded several missiles fired by the Sudanese army.

Karti said one of the car’s dead passengers was a Sudanese citizen with no government or Islamist ties.

Israel carried out the attack, he said, to prevent Sudan from being removed from a U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism. Sudan is under consideration to be removed from the list.

Neither Israel’s foreign minister nor its military has commented on the attack.

Israel was accused in 2009 of a deadly strike on a convoy of trucks in eastern Sudan suspected of being arms smugglers transporting weapons bound for the Gaza Strip.

Indian official: Chabad house targeted

Chabad House was the target of last month’s bomb attack on a bakery in India, a government official said.

The Indian state of Maharashtra’s Chief Minister Ashok Chavan told the Indian Legislative Assembly Monday that the target of the attackers was the Pune Chabad House, located several yards from the German Bakery.

Chavan said the bakery was targeted after the attackers discovered that Chabad was well protected by state police, according to the Press Trust of India.

“There was adequate security near the Chabad House,” he told the Assembly. “Since the attackers could not break the security, they targeted the German Bakery.

“We have increased our police force and also purchased sophisticated weapons to deal with such attacks. We are taking all the necessary security measures based on intelligence reports.”

Seventeen people were killed and others injured in the bomb attack in Pune on Feb. 13.

Following the attack, the Pune police asked the Chabad House to update its security system at a cost of $20,000.

Capture Stirs Mixed Mideast Reactions

After surviving the Holocaust and five Middle East wars,
Ze’ev is a hard man to impress. But news of Saddam Hussein’s capture Sunday
managed to move the Israeli retiree to tears.

“It is good to see Israel a little bit safer,” Ze’ev said in
his hometown of Ramat Gan, as footage of the Iraqi tyrant-turned-prisoner
played on television screens at roadside snack stands. Ramat Gan, where Iraqi
Jewish emigres settled en masse in the 1950s, ironically was a main target of
Saddam’s Scud missiles in the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

 The capture of the only Arab leader to perpetrate an
unanswered strike against the Jewish State generated an upbeat reaction in Israel,
buoying the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and resonating at the Defense Ministry.

“The capture of the Iraqi dictator is additional proof that
the policies of the free world, led by U.S. President George W. Bush, are
determined to bring to justice all terrorists responsible for killing,
destruction and anarchy,” Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz wrote in a telegram to
his U.S. counterpart, Donald Rumsfeld.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon also phoned Bush to offer

The Arab leaders who still battle Israel were more
circumspect. While Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat, a longtime a
Saddam ally, mulled an official reaction to the news of the capture in Tikrit,
Hamas and Islamic Jihad cautioned the West not to rejoice too soon.

“The Americans need to be the lords of the world by
eradicating all resistance against them,” said Adnan Asfour, a Hamas leader in
the West Bank. “I say to the Iraqi people: Observe what the Palestinian people do.
Our leaders are assassinated and arrested every day by the Israeli occupiers,
and that does not stop us from continuing our fight.”

In the Gaza Strip border town of Rafah, which sees almost
daily fighting between Palestinian gunrunners and Israeli troops, a rally to
mark the 16th anniversary of Hamas quickly became a show of support for Saddam.
Children bore posters showing Saddam in better days: uniformed, smiling, an
unabashed patron of the Palestinian cause.

Israeli strategic experts agreed that while a quick trial
and sentencing for Saddam might calm Iraq, it was unlikely to affect the
Palestinian front. Terrorist attacks against Israel continued, even though
Saddam’s payments to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers stopped after
he was deposed in March.

Unlike Saddam, Arafat still enjoys the status of
international statesman in most places except Washington.

“What amazes me,” said Yuval Steinitz, chairman of the
Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, “is that Saddam can now sit in
shackles for his support of terrorism, while archterrorist Arafat remains

Some experts warned of a surge in violence by pan-Arab
nationalists keen to show they are not cowed by the loss of a major figurehead.

“Those normal citizens who have taken up arms against the
Americans in Iraq and the Islamist extremists who have flocked to help them
might well put up a last fight,” said Jacky Hugi, Arab affairs correspondent
for Israel’s daily Ma’ariv.

The parallels between the Iraqi and Palestinian fronts
resonated recently with revelations that Israel was exporting its hard-learned
counterterrorist tactics to U.S. forces operating in Iraq.

Elsewhere in the Arab world, the news initially was greeted
with disbelief. But as the news was confirmed, many expressed joy that Saddam
would never return to power in Iraq. Others seemed disappointed that he had not
fought back against his U.S. captors.

In Yemen, one man said he had expected Saddam to fight back.
“I expected him to resist or commit suicide before falling into American
hands,” said teacher Mohammed Abdel Qader Mohammadi, 50. “He disappointed a lot
of us. He’s a coward.” Â

Israel and Saddam Share Long History

Spewing anti-Israel vitriol was one of Saddam Hussein’s
specialties. Of all the leaders in the Arab world, Saddam seemed to have the
most to say against Israel, and he seemed to say it the most often.

Now that he has been captured and faces possible trial,
experts are asking whether the Jewish State will again be his target of choice.

“It will be interesting to see if he chooses to attack Israel
this time, not with Scuds but verbally,” said Martin Kramer, a research fellow
at Tel Aviv University’s Dayan Center. “Historically, when he found himself up
against the wall, his usual method was to divert and deflect attention to Israel.”

After attacking Israel in the 1991 Gulf War, Saddam became
fond of saying that the Iraqi people represented 22 million missiles against Israel.

It was Saddam’s rhetoric against Israel that “was the main
glue for the Iraqis for developing national Iraqi feelings and remained so
until the very end,” said Ofra Bengio, a professor of Middle East history at Tel
Aviv University. “Hussein wanted to be able to mobilize the population around Israel
as the symbol of evil.”

In 1969, soon after Saddam was appointed Iraq’s vice
president, the government hanged 17 alleged spies, 11 of whom were Jewish, in
what is perceived as Saddam’s first message to Israel that he was a force with
which to be reckoned. The animosity continued in the 1970s, when Israel
provided covert military training and support for Iraqi Kurds in their struggle
against the regime in Baghdad.

The enmity intensified in 1981, with Israel’s air strike on Iraq’s
nuclear facility at Osirak, outside of Baghdad. Israeli officials defended the
strike in the face of worldwide condemnation, arguing that Saddam’s regime was
attempting to develop nuclear weapons. Years later, some of the same voices
that condemned Israel in 1981 said the strike had been the correct move.

Out of all the Iraqi-Israeli recriminations, Saddam was
proudest of Iraq’s firing of Scud missiles at the Jewish state. Casualties and
damage from the attacks were minimal, but the rain of missiles caused Israelis

For the first time in the country’s history, Israel did not
strike back when attacked. Instead, the Israelis, many of them survivors of
persecution elsewhere, hid in their sealed rooms with gas masks, while the
government heeded a request by the United States — which was trying to keep
intact its alliance with the Arab world against Saddam — not to counterattack.

Saddam’s power lay in part in his image and forceful
rhetoric, said Bengio, author of “Saddam’s World.” Saddam “managed to put
Israeli society into a panic for more than a decade. There was no basis for
such hysteria, but he managed to do it,” she said.

However, a serious Iraqi military threat never materialized,
she said, because Saddam was on such bad terms with the Syrians and Jordanians
that he was unable to establish a common cause.

Making Israel the focus of his diatribes was politically
profitable for Saddam. Presenting himself as a leader of the Arab world,
Hussein could use anti-Israeli sentiment to rally Arabs behind him.

He was seen by many in the Arab street as a hero for taking
bold stands against Israel and the United States. While other Arab nations
entered into peace talks with Israel and acceded to U.S. pressure, Saddam stood
firm with his belligerent stance.

The Palestinians cheered Saddam for supporting them, even
when the Scuds he fired at Israel endangered them as well. Most recently,
Saddam enraged Israel during the current intifada by sending substantial
monetary rewards to the families of suicide bombers who perpetrated attacks
against Israelis.

There was, however, a brief period in the 1980s, under
Yitzhak Rabin’s government, when high-level contacts took place between Israel
and Iraq. Led by Moshe Shaval, an Iraqi-born Israeli Cabinet minister, the
secret talks aimed at securing minimal relations between the two countries and
permitting return visits to Iraq by Israeli Jews from Iraq. The talks collapsed
shortly after they began. Â

A Libel That Holds No Truth

Some Americans apparently believe that we have gone to war with Iraq "because of the Jews." Having written a book explaining anti-Semitism ("Why the Jews?

The Reason for Anti-Semitism," Simon & Schuster, 1983), all I can do is marvel at the durability of anti-Semitism and the eternality of the charge that the Jews are responsible for everything anti-Semites fear.

No group in the world has been the target of nearly as many twisted and ludicrous accusations.

Tens of millions of European Christians once believed — and tens of millions of Muslims believe today — that Jews kidnap and slaughter non-Jewish children before Passover to use their blood for baking matzah.

Vast numbers of Europeans believed that Jews caused the plague.

Much of France believed that the near-bankruptcy brought on by its failure to build the Panama Canal was caused by the Jews.

The great majority of Arabs believe that Jews knew about the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and that 4,000 Jews who worked there stayed home that day.

The great majority of Arabs and tens of millions of Muslims believe that the Jews (i.e., Israel) are responsible for the poverty, tyranny, absence of freedom and brutality that pervade the Arab world.

And now, Pat Buchanan and other Americans believe (or at least say) that America has gone to war against Iraq "because of the Jews."

Many groups have been hated in history, but their haters never made up as many lies — let alone such grandiose lies — as have Jews’ enemies.

It is worth analyzing this latest libel — if only to understand anti-Semitism and the enormous role it plays in the world.

First, the charge is demonstrably a lie. There is not a single Jew in this administration’s Cabinet, and the president owes nothing to Jews, the great majority of whom voted for his Democratic opponent.

George W. Bush is an evangelical Christian from Texas; Dick Cheney is a conservative from Wyoming (not a state with an influential Jewish community); Condoleezza Rice is of Jamaican stock with no discernible ties to Jews, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was secretary of defense under the first President Bush, in the same Cabinet as James Baker, noted for saying "F — the Jews."

Jewish support for the war against Iraq is significant only if you consider the following to be Jewish: George Will, Ann Coulter, Gary Bauer, Bill Bennett, evangelical pastors and churches throughout America, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Thomas Sowell and The Wall Street Journal editorial page — not to mention British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Spain’s President Jose Aznar.

Second, Jews are some of the leading opponents of the war, especially in academia and the media.

Aside from being a lie, the libel that Jews have somehow pushed the Bush administration into war against Iraq is based on two other odious beliefs.

One is that support for the war is un-American or even anti-American, and therefore, if a particular group of Americans can be identified with promoting the war, that group must be un-American. The other belief, or at least inevitable implication, is that the vast number of non-Jewish Americans who support the war have no values or ideas of their own but are playthings in the hands of Rasputin-like Jews.

Given that neither facts nor logic support what is simply an attack on American Jews’ patriotism, what needs to be explained is not why some Jews (like members of every other faith and ethnicity in America) support a war against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. What needs to be explained is why some people see Jews behind a war initiated by non-Jews.

Alas, the explanation necessitates writing a book, since the reason people blame their troubles on the Jews is complex. So let us focus on the best known American who has made this argument, Pat Buchanan.

Buchanan has seen himself and his brand of conservatism — which, in its isolationism and amoral view of America’s role in the world, more often coincides with leftist positions — rejected by mainstream conservatism. He has been rejected by William F. Buckley, the National Review, The Wall Street Journal, the Republican Party and just about every other conservative publication and institution. And he has decided, as millions have for millennia, to blame the Jews for his problems.

Let it be shouted from sea to shining sea: America is uniquely great and uniquely blessed, because more than any other country it asks, "What is right?" when making foreign policy and because it has always blessed its Jews.

Should Americans become like Europeans and remove morality from their foreign policies and start to blame Jews for their problems, it will cease to be America and cease to be great. That is why, as always, anti-Semitism threatens good non-Jews as much as it threatens Jews. If not confronted, Americans who blame the Jews will bring ruin to America, just as the Germans who blamed Jews brought ruin to Germany.

Dennis Prager hosts a nationally syndicated radio talk show based in Los Angeles. He is the author of four books, most recently, “Happiness Is a Serious Problem” (HarperCollins). His Web site is www.dennisprager.com. To find out more about Dennis Prager, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.