Mitt Romney Is Real Tikkun Olam Candidate

Republican Stands for Individual Freedom and Prosperity

Doing Good: Mitt Romney’s support for individual freedom and prosperity is the best possible antidote for President Barack Obama’s spiral of decline.
getty images
Doing Good: Mitt Romney’s support for individual freedom and prosperity is the best possible antidote for President Barack Obama’s spiral of decline.

By Noam Neusner

Published August 29, 2012, issue of August 31, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

Regular readers of these pages are most likely strong supporters in the safety net programs set up in the New Deal, Great Society and now Obamacare legislative eras. They hold these programs to be good examples of America’s capacity to care for the ill, the poor, the destitute and the aged. And they find in these programs America’s expression of the Jewish concept of tikkun olam, repairing the world as it is, in the service of God and Torah.

So in this presidential election, as in every election, these socially conscious Jews are lining up behind the candidate on the left side of the political divide. President Obama has certainly honored the wishes of those tikkun olam-minded voters who supported him in 2008. He expanded the welfare state in virtually every direction.

A record number — 45 million Americans — were on food stamps in 2011, a 70% increase from 2007. Spending for the program was $72 billion, up $30 billion from 2007. In the first quarter of 2011, slightly less than half — 49.1% percent — of America’s population was living in a household where someone was receiving a government benefit. That’s up from 44.4% in the third quarter of 2008, and a good indication to all those tikkun olam voters.

And since Obama has presided over the slowest economic recovery in postwar history and the worst jobs record in any recovery, we’ve had millions more opportunities to express our spirit of tikkun olam.

Obama speaks regularly of the need to make investments in America’s infrastructure and future, and I believe him. But in reality, America is not so much in the investing business as in the loss-covering business. Roughly $7 out of every $10 spent by the federal government goes toward cleaning up other people’s mistakes or problems: housing assistance, food stamps, free or reduced health care, free and reduced lunches in schools and other educational supports, and subsidies for farmers.

In perhaps the finest display of the spirit of tikkun olam, only half the country has to pay for it. Half of Americans pay almost no income taxes — and in some cases, because of tax credits like those awarded for every child a family has, they even receive income tax refunds despite having zero income tax liability.

So if you’re a tikkun olam voter, you should be thrilled.

Of course, all this tikkun olam comes with an enormous price tag — one so big that it has heaped trillion-dollar deficits on the nation each year of Obama’s presidency. The Social Security trust fund will be empty several years earlier than we expected when Obama took office. Medicare’s trust fund will hang on longer, thanks to Obamacare, but it still carries trillions in future liabilities that expected tax revenues won’t cover.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.