Friday, April 08, 2011

The GOP Path to Prosperity By Paul D. Ryan

Our budget cuts $6.2 trillion in spending from the president's budget over the next 10 years and puts the nation on track to pay off our national debt.


APRIL 5, 2011

Congress is currently embroiled in a funding fight over how much to spend on less than one-fifth of the federal budget for the next six months. Whether we cut $33 billion or $61 billion—that is, whether we shave 2% or 4% off of this year's deficit—is important. It's a sign that the election did in fact change the debate in Washington from how much we should spend to how much spending we should cut.

But this morning the new House Republican majority will introduce a budget that moves the debate from billions in spending cuts to trillions. America is facing a defining moment. The threat posed by our monumental debt will damage our country in profound ways, unless we act.

No one person or party is responsible for the looming crisis. Yet the facts are clear: Since President Obama took office, our problems have gotten worse. Major spending increases have failed to deliver promised jobs. The safety net for the poor is coming apart at the seams. Government health and retirement programs are growing at unsustainable rates. The new health-care law is a fiscal train wreck. And a complex, inefficient tax code is holding back American families and businesses.

The president's recent budget proposal would accelerate America's descent into a debt crisis. It doubles debt held by the public by the end of his first term and triples it by 2021. It imposes $1.5 trillion in new taxes, with spending that never falls below 23% of the economy. His budget permanently enlarges the size of government. It offers no reforms to save government health and retirement programs, and no leadership.

Our budget, which we call The Path to Prosperity, is very different. For starters, it cuts $6.2 trillion in spending from the president's budget over the next 10 years, reduces the debt as a percentage of the economy, and puts the nation on a path to actually pay off our national debt. Our proposal brings federal spending to below 20% of gross domestic product (GDP), consistent with the postwar average, and reduces deficits by $4.4 trillion.

A study just released by the Heritage Center for Data Analysis projects that The Path to Prosperity will help create nearly one million new private-sector jobs next year, bring the unemployment rate down to 4% by 2015, and result in 2.5 million additional private-sector jobs in the last year of the decade. It spurs economic growth, with $1.5 trillion in additional real GDP over the decade. According to Heritage's analysis, it would result in $1.1 trillion in higher wages and an average of $1,000 in additional family income each year.

Here are its major components:

• Reducing spending: This budget proposes to bring spending on domestic government agencies to below 2008 levels, and it freezes this category of spending for five years. The savings proposals are numerous, and include reforming agricultural subsidies, shrinking the federal work force through a sensible attrition policy, and accepting Defense Secretary Robert Gates's plan to target inefficiencies at the Pentagon.

Welfare reform: This budget will build upon the historic welfare reforms of the late 1990s by converting the federal share of Medicaid spending into a block grant that lets states create a range of options and gives Medicaid patients access to better care. It proposes similar reforms to the food-stamp program, ending the flawed incentive structure that rewards states for adding to the rolls. Finally, this budget recognizes that the best welfare program is one that ends with a job—it consolidates dozens of duplicative job-training programs into more accessible, accountable career scholarships that will better serve people looking for work.

As we strengthen and improve welfare programs for those who need them, we eliminate welfare for those who don't. Our budget targets corporate welfare, starting by ending the conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that is costing taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. It gets rid of the permanent Wall Street bailout authority that Congress created last year. And it rolls back expensive handouts for uncompetitive sources of energy, calling instead for a free and open marketplace for energy development, innovation and exploration.

Health and retirement security: This budget's reforms will protect health and retirement security. This starts with saving Medicare. The open-ended, blank-check nature of the Medicare subsidy threatens the solvency of this critical program and creates inexcusable levels of waste. This budget takes action where others have ducked. But because government should not force people to reorganize their lives, its reforms will not affect those in or near retirement in any way.

Starting in 2022, new Medicare beneficiaries will be enrolled in the same kind of health-care program that members of Congress enjoy. Future Medicare recipients will be able to choose a plan that works best for them from a list of guaranteed coverage options. This is not a voucher program but rather a premium-support model. A Medicare premium-support payment would be paid, by Medicare, to the plan chosen by the beneficiary, subsidizing its cost.

In addition, Medicare will provide increased assistance for lower-­income beneficiaries and those with greater health risks. Reform that empowers individuals—with more help for the poor and the sick—will guarantee that Medicare can fulfill the promise of health security for America's seniors.

We must also reform Social Security to prevent severe cuts to future benefits. This budget forces policy makers to work together to enact common-sense reforms. The goal of this proposal is to save Social Security for current retirees and strengthen it for future generations by building upon ideas offered by the president's bipartisan fiscal commission.

Budget enforcement: This budget recognizes that it is not enough to change how much government spends. We must also change how government spends. It proposes budget-process reforms—including real, enforceable caps on spending—to make sure government spends and taxes only as much as it needs to fulfill its constitutionally prescribed roles.

Tax reform: This budget would focus on growth by reforming the nation's outdated tax code, consolidating brackets, lowering tax rates, and assuming top individual and corporate rates of 25%. It maintains a revenue-neutral approach by clearing out a burdensome tangle of deductions and loopholes that distort economic activity and leave some corporations paying no income taxes at all.

This is America's moment to advance a plan for prosperity. Our budget offers the nation a model of government that is guided by the timeless principles of the American idea: free-market democracy, open competition, a robust private sector bound by rules of honesty and fairness, a secure safety net, and equal opportunity for all under a limited constitutional government of popular consent.

We can reform government so that people don't have to reorient their lives for less. We can grow our economy, promote opportunity, and encourage upward mobility. This budget is the new House majority's answer to history's call. It is now up to all of us to keep America exceptional.

Mr. Ryan, a Republican, represents Wisconsin's first congressional district and serves as chairman of the House Budget Committee.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Davis set for Man-O-Manischewitz Cook-Off By Erik Sokolowski


February 27, 2011

Cherry Hill’s Stuart Davis was voted in as one of the top five finalists of the Manischewitz Company’s Man-O-Manischewitz Cook-Off recently.

The cook off, scheduled for March 31, is the only national kosher cooking competition in America, and challenges contestants to prepare family-friendly recipes incorporating one of Manischewitz’s all-natural broth flavors.

Davis, a father of four and instructor at Temple Beth Shalom, was the only finalist to be voted on by the general public, he also received a little help from his friends and neighbors.

“I have been part of the community for long time,” Davis said. “Parents spread the word, and Facebook is wonderful, so we rallied the troops and got the word out. It was definitely a community effort.”

Davis’ dish, Chicken and Egg Donburi, often considered the fast food of Japan, was inspired by his time working as an ESL teacher in the country.

“I was inspired by Asian cuisine,” Davis said. “It is Japanese comfort food, with many variations, so to keep it kosher, I had to be creative.”

To make the dish Manischewitz friendly, Davis substitutes a low-sodium broth. “I used low-sodium chicken broth due to the soy sauce,” Davis said. “I didn’t want it to be over salty, and I wanted the chicken flavor to come through.”

The home cook says he has always been passionate about food, and felt that this particular dish would stand out.

“Most kosher cooks aren’t familiar with Donbori,” Davis said. “I wanted something that highlighted a different ethnic profile. In my head I wanted to submit many different recipes, but I thought this was the most delicious and would differentiate me from the rest. Most kosher folks aren’t cooking these things.”

During the voting period, Davis received help from all over the world.
“My adoptive family in Japan checked out Facebook, and they voted from Japan,” Davis said. “I also had a first cousin in Austria, friends from Israel, and Canada vote. It was amazing how the word got out.”

Davis said he was both excited and nervous about the competition, but mostly excited.
“It is exciting to be validated and see where this takes me,” Davis said. “I like the journey and the challenge, and my kids are excited and looking forward to the excursion. I teach at Temple Beth Sholom in the teen education Hebrew school so my students are excited. My wife also teaches at the Kellman Brown Academy, and all the students and teachers are all eager to know what happens. During the voting period everyone was checking the percentages online and constantly telling me what percentage of the vote I had. I really want to thank everyone for their support.”

The purpose of the competition is to encourage home chefs to experiment with kosher products while preparing delicious recipes that could become a new family favorite or that have been shared from generation to generation. The five finalists were selected from over thousands of entries nationwide and will compete live at the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan for the $25,000 Grand Prize, which includes GE Profile kitchen appliances and cash.

The grand prize winner will be selected on site by a panel of prestigious foodies led by legendary chef Jacques Pepin, who for the second consecutive year will be the celebrity guest of honor. Chef Pépin is one of America’s best-known chefs, widely recognized as the host of eleven acclaimed public television cooking series and the author and publisher of 26 cookbooks.

He is also a founder of The American Institute of Wine and Food and has been the Dean of Special Programs at the French Culinary Institute (New York) since 1988.

A winner in kosher cook-off


April 05, 2011

By Tirdad Derakhshani

Cherry Hill's Stuart Davis beat nine other finalists Thursday to win the fifth annual Man-O-Manischewitz Cook-off with a recipe inspired by a Japanese rice-bowl dish called oyakodon ("parent and child donburi").

"The Japanese dish uses a fish stock," Davis says of his chicken and egg donburi, "this was made with a chicken stock."

Davis says he felt confident throughout his ordeal, which had him execute his recipe at the JCC in Manhattan before international culinary megastar Jacques Pepin and a panel of judges featuring representatives from Weight Watchers,, and

"Obviously, it was intimidating," says Davis, 45, who has worked in mortgage banking for a decade. He says he became fascinated with Japanese cuisine when he taught English in Japan for four years.

Was it a dream to enter the kosher-cooking contest? "It was a fluke, my mother's friend told me I should apply," says Davis, who has three girls and a boy with his wife, Sarina, an English teacher. The couple, Davis says, split the cooking 60 [percent] to 40 [percent]," he says, "with me doing the 60."

Though he doesn't see himself opening a restaurant, Davis says he'd love to pursue a new career "developing recipes and marketing food products."

The contest had amateur chefs invent a dish using two Manischewitz products.

"I used the low-sodium chicken broth and their wasabi sauce," says Davis, who won a prize package of cash and kitchen appliances totaling $25,000.

You Don’t Have To Be Jewish...Manischewitz contest draws mixed crowd, but the top prize goes to a Hebrew school teacher with a Japanese recipe. By Amy Spiro


April 5, 2011

Three of the competitors at the fifth annual Man-O-Manischewitz Cook-Off last week couldn’t turn their ovens on.

That wasn’t due to technical difficulties. But since these competitors weren’t Jewish, they had to have others start the cooking process for them, so that all the food at the event could remain kosher.

Amid much fanfare in the basement of the JCC in Manhattan on a rainy Thursday last week, the five contestants — narrowed down from a field of more than 3,000 applicants — chopped, fried, sautéed and simmered their submitted recipes in front of an eager crowd.

Each dish had to include two products — one of which was broth — made by Manischewitz, a century-old company known for matzah and wine in addition to cookies, soups and pasta. The day began with a proclamation from Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office, naming the day “Man-O-Manischewitz Cook-Off Day.”

In the end, Stuart Davis of Cherry Hill, N.J., took home the top prize after cooking his “Chicken and Egg Donburi,” a Japanese dish that he started preparing when he taught English in Japan. He used a wasabi dip made by Manischewitz to round out the recipe.

Davis, the lone male and one of two Jewish participants in the competition, wasn’t selected as a finalist by the judges. Instead he was voted in by online users, from among four other semifinalists posted on the Manischewitz website.

“I had my students [at Temple Beth Sholom in Cherry Hill] voting, and my wife had her students voting,” said Davis, of his online success. The 45-year-old father of four, who teaches Hebrew at the Conservative congregation, took home the $25,000 prize package, which includes a new dishwasher, oven and fridge from General Electric.

The panel of judges, headed by celebrity chef Jacques Pepin, awarded Davis the trophy and prize by a tiny margin; he received only a half point more than the second-place contestant.

The other finalists, who hailed from Florida, Maryland, New Jersey and West Virginia, brought an eclectic mix of flavors. One contestant’s “Simple Fisherman’s Stew” featured fennel and saffron, while another’s “Golden Sweet Potato Tagine” was flavored with plums, honey and garam masala.

Luckily, the 100-member audience didn’t have to wait until the contestants were done cooking for a sample: each of the competitors’ recipes was recreated by a catering service and available for tasting.

As the contenders cooked their dishes, the hosts, judges and viewers watched their kitchen skills and techniques. “I just like to see how comfortable contestants are in the kitchen,” said Lauren Salked, an editor at and one of the judges. “I want to see if it seems doable for the home cook.”

Though the contestants came from varied backgrounds, they all were eager to adapt to kosher ingredients. “It would be ignorant to limit myself to one cuisine,” said Naylet LaRochelle, as she chopped pistachios for her “Moroccan Chicken Bowl.” LaRochelle, a competitor from Miami who said she is Catholic and of Cuban heritage, was inspired to enter by her Jewish co-worker, and sees Moroccan flavors as a new trend. “It packs a lot of flavor without being too complicated.”

Suzanne Banfield, a contestant from Basking Ridge, N.J., who cooked a fisherman’s stew, said she discovered kosher food after she was diagnosed with Celiac disease, and cut gluten and dairy out of her diet. “I’ve become an obsessive label reader,” she said. “I go nuts at Passover,” when many items are gluten free.

Other competitors received inspiration from TV personalities, like Dina Burcat, a Baltimore contestant who created her “Shallot Smothered Chicken” after seeing celebrity chef Rachael Ray use shallots in a pasta dish. “I’ve cooked this for Shabbat dinner with my friends,” she said.

The diverse backgrounds of the contestants came as no surprise to Alain Bankier, co-CEO of Manischewitz. “It says that Manischewitz products are good for everybody,” said Bankier. “It’s just great food that happens to be kosher.”


Japanese Rice Bowl Takes Top Honors at Kosher Cook-off By Leslie Albrecht


March 31, 2011

Donburi, a traditional Japanese dish, won the Man-O-Manischewitz Cook-Off.

UPPER WEST SIDE — Kosher chefs, grab your chopsticks.

Donburi, a traditional Japanese dish, was crowned the winner Thursday of the Man-O-Manischewitz Cook-off, an annual event that showcases recipes made with ingredients from Manischewitz, the country's largest purveyor of kosher food.

More than 3,000 cooks submitted recipes for the competition, which awarded $25,000 worth of GE appliances to the grand prize winner, Stuart Davis of Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Davis, who prepared a chicken and egg donburi, also called a rice bowl, cooked his dish along with four other finalists at the Manhattan Jewish Community Center on Thursday.

The five culinary competitors had one hour to whip up their kosher creations at stoves set up in the JCC auditorium. Then a panel of celebrity judges, including French chef Jacques Pepin, rated the dishes.

Competitors had to use two Manischewitz ingredients, including the company's new Ready to Serve Broth. Dishes were limited to nine ingredients, and were scored on taste, ease of preparation, creativity and originality.

As the five cooks bent over their cutting boards Thursday afternoon to cook fresh versions of their recipes for the judges, a crowd of Manischewitz executives and contestants' families and friends sampled versions of the dishes that had been prepared by caterers.

Manischewitz CEO Paul Bensabat said he was partial to the two recipes with a Moroccan theme — a golden sweet potato tagine and a Moroccan chicken bowl — because he was born in Casablanca.

Jeanette Nelson, a mother of three with a Southern drawl from Sophia, West Virginia, made the tagine, and Naylet LaRochelle of Miami cooked the Moroccan chicken bowl.

The two other finalists were Dina Burcat of Baltimore, who cooked shallot-smothered chicken, and Suzanne Banfield of Basking Ridge, New Jersey, who made fisherman's stew.

"The beauty is that we have contestants who are male, female, East Coast, West Coast, Jewish, not Jewish," Bensabat said, adding that only two of the five finalists were Jewish.

"We want to demonstrate the incredible versatility of kosher cooking. Kosher food should not be boring. It should be a culinary pleasure."

As the crowd feasted on the final recipes, Pepin walked to each station and chatted with the contestants. A veteran of cooking on camera for several TV cooking shows, Pepin told DNAinfo he had advice on how contestants could stay calm under pressure. "Have a glass of wine," he said. "You have to relax."

When the hour of cooking ended, each finalist presented their dish to the judges.

"Just like every Jewish mother has their version of chicken soup with matzo balls, every Japanese mother has a version of this," said Davis, who lived for several years in Japan.

When he was announced as the winner a few minutes later, he beamed and encouraged the crowd to try his recipe. "Make it at home, the low sodium broth works great," Davis said.