America is a strong nation, the envy of many in the world. But even a nation as strong as ours still has its vulnerabilities. We have been attacked by enemies both foreign and domestic who have at times caused great damage to our people, places, property, and society. We must therefore remain vigilant by considering potential threats so we can take the appropriate defensive countermeasures.
Let’s imagine a group of nihilistic political arsonists who wish to cause great harm to our economy for cynical, short-sighted partisan gain. They meet secretly amongst themselves to devise a plan to wreak havoc on our sound financial system. Their goal is to attack the full faith and credit of the United States Treasury and cause a downgrading of the credit rating of the United States government, which among other hardships, could possibly cost American taxpayers over $1 billion in higher interest costs. They would then trigger a recession which would result in millions of Americans losing their jobs. Retirement funds invested in the stock market would likely be lost to aging Americans who are living, or hoping to live out their golden years in relative comfort and relaxation. These economic arsonists also realize the long term health of the American economy is dependent on developing a green economy. So they also would like to stop recent efforts to move America to renewable energy and even encourage reactionary policies of providing subsidies to fossil fuel industries to flourish.
Not content to attack our infrastructure, these arsonists would want to sow social discord by hurting ordinary citizens through undermining the health care provided to veterans, reducing benefits to low-income families, students and the sick dependent on Medicaid for their health and very lives. Finally, since they recently saw what havoc the deregulation of our banking system caused, they would like to deregulate a wide range of industries to cause more rot throughout our American infrastructure.
Sadly, we don’t have to imagine this group of political arsonists willing to sabotage the economy for their unquenching thirst for power – by any means necessary. They are right here in Bucks County and across the country, and even have the gall to refer to themselves as patriots.
There are 217 of them. And one of them is our own Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick who recently joined 216 of his Republican “leaders” in the MAGA-controlled Congress to pass legislation that would bring the American economy to financial ruin and disaster.
The Republican House of Representatives passed a bill that effectively would hold the American economy hostage. Due to some archaic legislation passed way back in 1917, Congress must pass legislation to extend the debt ceiling in order to pay for, not new purchases, but for purchases already made. Current estimates are that the Treasury will run out of financial options to pay for existing debts around June 1. If this happens, the American financial system will face a terrible catastrophe, a totally unnecessary self-inflicted wound. Instead of dealing with this crisis head-on (as it did with no problem whatsoever for three times under the Trump administration), Republican leadership failed to pass a condition-free “clean” debt ceiling bill and chose to pass a bill with a series of irrelevant extreme conditions that fails to solve the matter at hand.
Now you might ask, what high-minded principles are our Republican “leaders” fighting for to risk causing an American economic catastrophe? For Freedom? For Justice? For Equality? No. It’s to:
– Give subsidies to fossil fuel industries.
– Kill climate change investment initiatives.
– Cut Medicaid for sick Americans and possibly reduce veteran health benefits by 22 percent.
– Hurt and not help Americans with high levels of crushing student debt.
– Deregulate wealthy corporate industries.
– Reduce funding for the Internal Revenue Service.
So instead of solving problems, Republican leadership is busy creating new ones. And our very own Congressman Fitzpatrick, who frequently touts himself as a problem solver – with little to show for this self-anointed label – voted with 216 of his Republican colleagues to pass (without one Democratic vote) the “Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023” to enact this economic sabotage.
If Congressman Fitzpatrick were a true problem solver concerned more about the people and his country than about staying in the good graces of his far-right Republican Party, he would not be voting with this MAGA herd to create new problems, but instead would be trying to work seriously in a bipartisan way with the Democratic Party to investigate creative solutions to the debt ceiling crisis. One option would be to support legal scholarship that would argue for the unconstitutionality of the debt ceiling legislation based on a close interpretation of section 4 of the 14th amendment: ”The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law,…, shall not be questioned.” Another possible solution for a true problem solver would be to introduce a “clean” debt ceiling bill through a discharge petition with a few of his reasonable Republican colleagues so that this artificially generated problem would instantaneously disappear. Or simply repeal the archaic debt limit legislation once and for all.
But no, sadly our “problem solver” Congressman has once again proved to us he is instead a problem creator.
Change is possible, but it has to be voted in. If you want a voice in Congress who is more representative then I’d suggest getting involved in Ashley Ehasz’s campaign to ensure she replaces Fitzpatrick and we flip this MAGA Congress in 2024. Otherwise more problems will be on the horizon.