Congress Borrows Trouble With Debt Deal
While the media’s busy talking about China, Iran, and North Korea, the biggest threat to America may be the one nobody’s really talking about — the U.S. debt. Our country has plenty of enemies, but right now, Congress’s spending habits may be doing more damage to America’s future than any dictator ever could. Now that the U.S. is up against the borrowing limit, both parties have a chance to do something about it. But, as everyone knows, talking about budget cuts isn’t the problem. Finding leaders who will carry through with them is.
If a good political compromise is one that everyone hates, then this weekend’s debt ceiling proposal is a success. As of late Sunday, both sides were still trying to nail down details on a deal that would give America an even bigger credit limit over the next two years — with almost no real spending cuts to offset it. Conservatives, like Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) — head of the Republican Study Committee, can’t believe the administration is even considering it. The last thing America should be doing, they insist, is make it easier for Congress to spend money it doesn’t have.
Think about it in terms of a credit card, some Republicans have said. If you have a son or daughter who exceeds the limit, what do you do? Well, for starters, you rip up the card. Then you make it clear: it’s time to change our habits. So far, Congress has done neither. In fact, the preliminary plan hashed out between Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin isn’t in the same ballpark as the White House’s budget gurus, who insist that any debt ceiling increase has to be tied to $150 billion in new cuts.
What Pelosi and other members are suggesting, the Washington Post points out, does the exact opposite. It increases spending by tens of billions of dollars through 2021 — completely ignoring the White House’s request to start slashing money for government agencies, starting in October. The measly $80 billion Pelosi does include in offsets are pocket change compared to what the president’s team requested — not to mention, the Post argues, they wouldn’t take place for years. And that’s if a future Congress doesn’t reverse them!
Rep. Johnson, like his fellow conservatives, say no deal. “We believe the White House and congressional leadership should be prepared to walk away from this if necessary.” With America swimming in red ink, he believes — and we agree — that Congress can’t keep kicking this can down the road. In a country that’s added $2.6 trillion of debt just in the last three years, we are out of road.
And while House leaders have known about this crisis for months (America hit the debt ceiling way back in March) Pelosi waited until right before her chamber adjourns for August recess to ram through a plan that only gives Congress the green light to blow through more money. To wear down the resistance, Pelosi agreed to include a big bump in defense spending — and the assurance that Democrats won’t add any “poison pill riders” (like taxpayer-funded abortion) to the final text.
The debt ceiling is “a very, very sacred thing in our country…” the president told reporters. “We can never play with it.” Even so, fiscal experts warn, America’s borrowing is on an unsustainable path. While Americans yawn at the numbers, the reality is grim. “Right now,” Maya MacGuineas warns, “interest payments [on the national debt] are the single fastest growing part of the budget. Next year, we’ll spend more on them than we do on children. Within five years, we’ll spend more on them than we do on national defense.”
Back in 2016, the GOP tried to draw a line in the sand with the Republicans’ national platform. “The huge increase in the national debt demanded by and incurred during the current administration has placed a significant burden on future generations. We must impose firm caps on future debt, accelerate the repayment of the trillions we now owe in order to reaffirm our principles of responsible and limited government, and remove the burdens we are placing on future generations,” the delegations agreed.
Lee Payne from Stephen Austin University has said before that parties vote with their platforms 82 percent of the time. It’s a shame that spending, for some Republicans, is the exception.
Originally published here.
In Gender Debate, More Groom and Doom
It used to be called indecent exposure. Now, thanks to the transgender movement, it’s called something else — tolerance. From bathrooms to beauty salons, the story is all the same. Biological men who want access to women’s services and spaces. And biological women who want the freedom to say, “No.”
In British Columbia, where the fallout from the gender identity wars are in full swing, not much has been made about a high-profile case that spells out the disaster of ignoring biology. When Jessica Yaniv walked into the spa, Marcia Da Silva was not prepared for his request. The man, who identifies as a woman, asked for a Brazilian wax — a treatment reserved for women. Taken aback, Marcia said she was uncomfortable carrying out the treatment on a person with male genitalia — a) because she didn’t want to provide an intimate service for a biological man, and b) because she didn’t have the training for it.
So, Yaniv filed a complaint with British Columbia’s Human Rights Tribunal — along with complaints against 15 other specialists who also didn’t want to be alone with a “strange, naked man.” Beyond that, one feminist publication points out, there are safety issues for the estheticians — “particularly for women working alone out of their homes.”
Still, Yaniv compared Marcia to a “neo-Nazi,” who was denying him a valuable service. “We live in a different day and age now,” he testified. Da Silva fired back that she “has no problem with LGBT” but argued that she shouldn’t have to perform a personal service like this against her will.
And absolutely every sane person on earth would agree. This kind of sexual harassment is exactly what galvanized the global #MeToo movement. In this fantasy world of gender, where is a real woman’s right to have boundaries, privacy, or freedom from coercion? This is an anything-goes agenda that’s crushing conscience and flinging open the door to real sexual violence and predation. It’s the same in the bathroom debate. And as we explain then — our concern over safety isn’t with people who identify as transgender. The concern is with others who will exploit the laws to hurt women.
Meghan Murphy, in the Feminist Current, warns about where this ideology is leading.
“We are at a place where we are not only allowing men to dictate what a woman is, but to destroy hard fought for rights won by feminists, very quickly, without any public debate. We are putting women and girls in danger in order to avoid offending the feelings of a tiny minority of people. Again, without a public debate. We are allowing women to be fired, threatened, harassed, smeared, silenced, intimidated, ostracized, and even beaten in order to accommodate the feelings of men. And I refuse to accept or repeat lies under threat — especially lies that are clearly harmful. We can support people’s rights and dignity and provide them with the services they need without lying and without throwing women under the bus.”
Meanwhile, girls like track runner Selena Soule just want a fair shot. But that’s virtually impossible now, she says, in an unlevel playing field. In her complaint to the Department of Education, she argues that women’s sports can’t compete in an age when biological men can line up and take her trophies and scholarships. In Connecticut, where she competes, the reality is particularly harsh. The competition board allows boys to race against girls, even without undergoing any sort of hormone therapy.
“I don’t know of a woman athlete who doesn’t want trans girls to be treated fairly,” insisted Donna Lopiano, who used to lead the Women’s Sports Foundation. “But the cost of treating her fairly should not come at the cost of discriminating against a biologically-female-at birth woman.”
Just as the cost of treating Jessica Yaniv shouldn’t come at the expense of a real woman’s safety. That’s a lot of things — but “fair” isn’t one of them.
Originally published here.
One Small Step for Man, One Giant Leap for Faith
If you were a tourist expecting to see the Washington Monument at night, you probably did a double take. For most nights leading up to Saturday’s 50th anniversary of the moon walk, what people saw wasn’t the familiar pyramid-topped column but a Saturn V rocket — as real as the day it took off. It was NASA’s way of reliving one of mankind’s greatest stories — one that left a footprint even bigger than Buzz Aldrin’s iconic print.
But there’s more to July 20, 1969 than most people know. Turns out, before Americans took their first walk on the moon, they took a more important walk — with God. Several years ago, Buzz Aldrin told Guidepost magazine one detail that most documentaries ignore. Some 250,000 miles from home, he explains, he quieted his radio, read a verse from the Gospel of John, and took communion. “I intended to read the passage back to earth, but [NASA] asked me not to. I agreed reluctantly. I ate the tiny Host and swallowed the wine. I gave thanks for the… spirit that had brought two young pilots to the Sea of Tranquility… It’s interesting to think,” Aldrin said, “that some of the first words spoken on the moon were the words of Jesus Christ, who made the Earth and the moon, and who, in the immortal words of Dante, is Himself the ‘Love that moves the Sun and stars.’”
It was a moment Aldrin had hoped to share with the world — but seven months earlier, NASA had been sued by a militant atheist, who took exception to Apollo 8’s reading of the Bible’s Genesis 1. Although the case was ultimately dismissed, the administration didn’t want to take any chances. Still, even the space agency couldn’t stop Buzz from saying, as they headed back to earth, “This has been far more than three men on a mission to the moon. Personally, and reflecting on the events of the past several days, a verse from Psalms comes to mind: ‘When I consider the heavens, the work of Thy fingers and the moon and stars which Thou hast ordained, what is man that Thou art mindful of him?”
Later, after 12 men had walked on the moon, one of them — Charles Duke — said he used to think going to the moon would be his greatest achievement. But his walk with Jesus is even more memorable, because it’s an everyday event. Other astronauts felt the same. Flying through the heavens, closer to God than they’d ever been, heroes like Jim Lovell couldn’t help but think and talk about creation. When his Genesis reading became the source of so much controversy, he shrugged his shoulders and said he couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about. “It’s the foundation of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam,” Lovell replied. “It’s the foundation of most of the world’s religions. … They all had that basis of the Old Testament.”
It was a message he felt like America needed — and still needs, today. As Vice President Mike Pence said, “Unity is the true legacy of Apollo 11,” and we should try to capture that same unity every day, one nation under the heavens’ God.
Originally published here
This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.