Commentary

David Davenport: The Future Of Freedom

Compromise

A new survey by the Fund for American Studies reminds us that millennials do not understand economics. The same group that does not know basic civics—such as who their senator is or whether Judge Judy is on the Supreme Court—also doesn’t get how free markets work.

While 60% of millennials said they would choose liberty over security, in turn 54% want more government, not less. A majority of even Republicans and conservatives believe government should regulate oil and drug company prices, and place tariffs on goods coming from overseas.

This survey is described as a “freedom index” but millennials really favor more government regulation. I suppose it’s no surprise that young people who have grown up knowing nothing but big government fail to see the connection between more government regulation and less freedom.

Young people who value freedom in their personal and social lives need to understand that political and economic freedoms are necessary to sustain that.

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Albert Mohler: The Vulnerable West

Billy Graham

A German Light Infantry Battalion recently reported, according to the Wall Street Journal, that “during exercises…their unit didn’t have the munitions to simulate battle. Instead, they were told to imagine the bangs.”

All this comes in the aftermath of President Donald Trump’s visit to Europe, in which he pointed his finger at the Europeans, including many of our historic allies, for their failure to spend enough in terms of their military.

The Dutch Prime Minister recently said, “To an extent, he has a point.” Indeed, the president has a massive point.

As the Wall Street Journal reports, “Today European allies spend roughly half as much as the United States on defense yet have less than one-sixth of its combat power.”

This is not a problem that can be quickly remedied. Perhaps we can understand why Vladimir Putin and others see the opportunity when we are told that a German light infantry battalion is having to say “bang! bang!” to one another because they actually don’t have the bullets.

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Michael Medved: Putting Personality Above Policy

Opioid

Leaders of both political parties and the most prominent voices in media, all make the same mistake that poisons our politics: concentrating on the president’s personality, not his policies. Debates always seem to center on Trump’s character: is he a breath of fresh air who’s appropriately shaking the system, or a bigoted buffoon, who’s corrupt and incompetent? Democrats obsess on exaggerated charges of Russian collusion and won’t debate crucial issues like health care and tax reform. Arguments over Trump’s personality may boost ratings and political fund-raising but they’re ultimately pointless and polarizing.

Love him or hate him, he’s the president for the next three-and-a-half years. Democrats could meet him halfway on legislation or foreign policy, but there’s no constructive compromise if your main concern is savaging his character. On reality shows, contestants play clear roles as heroes or villains but government should be about progress and programs, not nasty games.

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Lanhee Chen: The Terror Threat Is Real

Tax Reform

In the last week alone, terrorists have attacked or attempted to attack targets in European nations we call allies and friends. One of the main railway stations in Brussels, Belgium was targeted. So too were innocent civilians on the Champs-Elysees in Paris.

These attempts came on the heels of deadly attacks in London and Manchester, and recent attacks in Stockholm, Berlin, and Nice.

The threat of radical jihadist terrorism is real. And if we are naïve enough to believe that the terrorists are only interested in attacking European nations, shame on us. They’d love nothing more than to successfully attack the American homeland.

That’s why, for all of the threats we face around the world, none is more significant than the one that we face from radical Islamic terrorism. The intelligence community and law enforcement has have done a superb job of keeping Americans safe since 9/11. Lawmakers should make sure they have everything they need for success. And the Trump Administration should continue to devote time, effort, and resources to neutralizing and, eventually, defeating this threat.

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Michael Medved: Trump’s Surprising Coalition: Not Just “Deplorables”

Opioid

James T. Hogkinson, the crazed gunman who fired at Republican congressmen in early June, hardly fits the common image of a militant Bernie Sanders Democrat. He was 66, married for 30 years, a proud gun-owner, working in construction and living in a small Midwestern town. In fact, he came close to stereotypes of one of Trump’s blue-collar “deplorables,” which only highlights the dishonest nature of common media narratives.

Actually, Trump’s core support wasn’t the downtrodden working class: he did better among the third of voters who earned more than $100,000 a year than among the two-thirds who earned less than that. Among the one-third of voters who earned below $50,000, Trump lost to Clinton by 12 points. Nor were his supporters overwhelmingly uneducated: he actually won white voters with college degrees, 37 percent of the overall electorate. The Trump coalition was far more varied and complex than simplistic analysis and conventional wisdom suggest.

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Lanhee Chen: Karen Handel’s Victory

Tax Reform

Republican Karen Handel’s victory in the special election in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District will generate a lot of punditry and spin.

Democrats will argue that they got a lot closer than they should have in a district that Republican Tom Price, now the Secretary of Health and Human Services, won by 23 points less than a year ago.

Republicans will respond by noting that their opponents poured $30 million into the race and yet the Democrat wasn’t able to do any better than Hillary Clinton did in losing the district to Donald Trump last year.

Both sides are right, to some degree. That’s why it’s hard to draw too many conclusions about what this means for the midterms next year. There are many political lifetimes to be led between now and then. And intervening events will impact voters’ opinions over the next 17 months.

We’d all be well served to take a deep breath and let it all unfold. Predicting the future never has been a very good business to be in, anyway.

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Michael Medved: Public Opinion and Obamacare

Opioid

In 2010, the health insurance legislation known as “Obamacare” was overwhelmingly unpopular. But Democrats in the White House and Congress pushed it through anyway, and then paid a severe price in the next elections. Today, the health care package known as “Trumpcare” is similarly unpopular, but the Republicans seem determined to pass legislation this summer, even at the risk of serious losses of their own in 2018 Congressional elections.

Does this mean the electorate is confused?—hating Obamacare, and then hating the most serious attempt to repeal and replace it? Actually, public reactions are sensible and consistent—what Americans hate is the whole idea of the federal government making sweeping, bureaucratic decisions, on something as personal and important as medical insurance.

If the GOP made clear that their proposals provide individuals with more choices, and give the states more discretion to shape their own policies, their reforms would win much broader popular support.

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