At A Fork

It is Tuesday morning September 28, 2021 as I tap the keys of a computer’s keyboard to write this op-ed (yes, I still call them that). I see America at a crossroads with simultaneously much promise and much peril. There is no way I can cover all that in a few paragraphs – it would easily take volumes – but I’ll give it a go. Please come along for the brief ride.

This week Congress, in addition to other things, is looking at two pieces of infrastructure legislation, legislation to prevent a government shutdown and debt ceiling action all while ignoring voter protection legislation. They are all to some degree or another intertwined. Just how things will look at the end of the week is something I will not hazard to predict.

America is under attack by a domestic extreme right wing minority which is to a great degree the Republican Party led by Donald Trump that is shielding them. It was recently revealed that Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair General Mark Milley had two conversations with his Chinese counterpart late in the Trump administration with the goal of averting a nuclear conflict. For that action many on the right have called on him to resign. The best way to “win” a war is to avoid it in the first place or is that concept too complex for America’s lowest common denominator to comprehend?

The fraudit in Arizona found that Trump actually lost the state by more votes than the official count but Trump went down to Georgia claiming that it made him the winner in 2020. I guess we should be thankful that Trump is not a Rays fan. If he was, he would be calling into question the 2008 World Series because the Rays lost a game that was played in very rainy weather. (The Rays lost to the Phillies in 5 games. I’m a Rays fan but they simply got beat.)

The Republicans at the state level are busy passing voter suppression and voter nullification laws. Democracies die from within and a large enough domestic terrorist network reinforced by a large political party could sufficiently undermine democracy to the point it basically ceases to function.

Monday Ford announced an $11.4 billion investment in new plants that will generate over 11,000 new jobs all based on electric vehicles. One of the two infrastructure bills contains a massive expansion of America’s infrastructure to accommodate electric vehicles.

Republican leaders are flat out lying (if they don’t know better, they haven’t been paying attention), when they say that a raise in the debt ceiling is to pay for new spending. It is to pay for prior congressionally authorized spending the vast majority of it under Trump. The 2017 Trump Tower Tax Cut (which did close to nothing for the economy) along with all the relief packages were necessitated by Trump’s mismanagement of the pandemic. That totals in the ballpark of $8 trillion. Raising, or better yet elimination, the debt ceiling produces/authorizes exactly zero dollars of government spending. However, it will save the government, individuals and businesses trillions in interest costs. If we fail to raise the debt ceiling it is only a matter of a few weeks before we default on our debt. That will raise not only the interest rate on government debt but the rates for all Americans and American businesses both large and small. Right now, the federal government borrows at incredibly low rates and lenders are lined up willing to lend to us. That rate is a base rate that dictates individual and business loan rates.

Where we stand on Sunday will be interesting to say the least. How we get there will be fodder for a plethora of books. The only thing I am willing to predict is that there will still be uncertainty when the sun rises on the DC landscape on Sunday morning. Will we commit suicide or take advantage of opportunities?

I and most of my readers love America. This is our fork in the road. Let’s not make it love’s last episode. (Yes, I stole that from The Spinners song I’ll Be Around.)

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