Government Can’t Create Value

The government cannot convey worth through funding.

For a document that amounts to little more than a positioning statement, President Donald Trump’s proposed budget has inspired an inordinate amount of passion. The dudgeon frenzy on the left over the president’s effort to curb and cut discretionary spending (e.g., the 40 percent of the budget that isn’t dedicated to entitlements, anti-poverty programs, or servicing the debt) has been predictably overwrought. There are specific complaints about the nature of Trump’s cuts that deserve thought and examination. To the extent that liberals offer a philosophical justification for their opposition to Trump’s proposal, though, it is based in their embarrassment over the fact that a budget is an expression of priorities—and America’s priorities, they contend, are all wrong. This is logic borne of a fallacy.

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Government Can’t Create Value

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Manchester, Montana, and Hands

Podcast: On Terrorism in Manchester and hot-headed violence in Montana.

On the final podcast before Memorial Day, the COMMENTARY crew takes on the horror in Manchester and what it means about security, terrorism, and cultural integration. We move on to the assault perpetrated on a reporter by an out-of-control special-election candidate in Montana before concluding with the most important issue we’ve ever covered: Did Melania swat Donald’s hand away? Give a listen.

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Just How High Was Iran’s Voter Turnout?

Go to the provinces.

The Islamic Republic of Iran may not be a democracy, but Iran’s leadership does take voter turnout seriously. The Supreme Leader regularly beseeches Iranians to vote, and various regime officials and even Iran’s de facto lobbyists in the United States do cite voter participation as a sign of legitimacy.

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The False Backlash Over Anonymous Sources

Rational skepticism or partisan angst?

To hear Donald Trump’s supporters tell it, the story these days isn’t the story, but how the story is sourced.

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The Next Lebanon War Will be Different

Iran and Hezbollah are calling the shots.

It’s now been more than a decade since Hezbollah launched a cross-border attack on Israel and precipitated a war that devastated south Lebanon and parts of Beirut. That war ended with the acceptance of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, which called for the “disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon,” including Lebanese Hezbollah and the assertion of full control over Lebanese territory by the government of Lebanon.

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Theatrics, Outrage, and Normalcy

The Trump budget: "Hateful," "immoral," and an "attack" on Americans.

Five months into the Trump presidency, it does feel as though life has been moving along at a record pace. Following the breakneck speed with which scandals and controversies involving the Trump administration are revealed, examined, and subsumed into a broader narrative has been a struggle. It’s a welcome break, then, that the release of Donald Trump’s proposed budget has ushered in a familiar dynamic in Washington. Democrats have shifted from expressing grave and honest concerns about the president’s conduct to feigning outsize indignation over the president’s priorities. It’s a happy return to normalcy.

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