A nonpartisan and knowledgeable voice on US debt and deficit concerns

From the desk of Maya MacGuineas of the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. I will offer no additional comment as it speaks for itself.

“Today, the Treasury Department announced that it has begun engaging in a set of accounting tools known as “extraordinary measures” to avoid breaching the nation’s $31.38 trillion statutory debt limit. Those measures are expected to delay that breach until at least early June and possibly later.

The following is a statement from Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:

Without qualification, the debt limit must be increased or suspended, and it should be done so as quickly as possible. Ideally, we would return to the practice of lifting the debt ceiling without relying on extraordinary measures – which have become all too ordinary – and refrain from making the increase anything close to a last-minute showdown.

The debt ceiling is too important to turn into a game of chicken, and default should never be suggested by those with a fiduciary responsibility to govern the nation. Politicians who are rightly worried about the nation’s unsustainable borrowing path should take a hard stance against new borrowing and oppose legislation that would add to the debt while offering specific solutions to control the debt already on the books, rather than threatening not to pay the bills on borrowing that has already been incurred.

The debt ceiling does offer the opportunity for all lawmakers to pause, assess the fiscal situation of the nation, and take action as necessary. And it is necessary. The debt as a share of GDP is at near record levels. We are on track to begin adding $2 trillion per year to the debt by the end of the decade. Interest payments are the fastest growing part of the budget and are projected to start costing $1 trillion annually in only a few years. The Social Security and Medicare Hospital Insurance trust funds are headed toward insolvency. And last year alone, Congress and the President passed bipartisan legislation that added nearly $2 trillion to the projected national debt. This is an urgent problem that is not getting the attention it needs.

An ideal solution would be for Congress to lift the debt ceiling as soon as possible and at the same time put in place measures to improve our fiscal trajectory. This could include specific policies or processes such as a fiscal commission.

Attaching fiscal reforms to the debt limit was common practice in the past when both policies and processes to improve fiscal responsibility were included as part of a deal. More recently, in a jaw-dropping act of fiscal irresponsibility, politicians in both parties pivoted to support debt ceiling increases along with legislation that made the debt worse. Under President Trump, the debt ceiling was lifted three times with bipartisan support and included legislation that added in total a stunning $2.1 trillion in new borrowing to the debt.

Congress should return to the past model of a debt ceiling increase, legislation to improve the fiscal situation, and a broad based understanding that the debt ceiling must be increased in a calm and timely manner. We must not threaten default. The cost is simply too high.“

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That debt limit and the real problem

The last time the Republicans shut down the government over the debt limit was led by Senator Ted Cruz. With other nations pleading with the US not to default on its debt, ten female Senators of both parties came together in the last 24 hours before we defaulted and came to an agreement. They told Cruz and his cronies to get out of the pool, it is time for an adult swim. Countries lend money to the US because we pay it back. Reneging on debt is NOT a conservative ideal.

Being concerned with debt is important, but where to be concerned about it is in revenue/ spending ledger. Per the nonpartisan Committee on a Responsible Federal Budget, we need revenue (tax) increases and spending cuts both as the math will not otherwise work. This was the conclusion of the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles Deficit Reduction Committee as well. While Democrats have tended to be better about dealing with the debt than Republicans, I felt when Obama shelved the Simpson-Bowles report it was a great disservice.

The hypocrisy that should be made clear is if Senator Cruz was so concerned about the debt and was willing to stop the government, why did he vote to reduce taxes in December 2017 to increase the debt by just under $2 trillion? This was a Republican law that largely reduced taxes for the wealthy and corporations, raising it on the middle class and throwing some bones at the lower economic class. And, it should be noted it was only passed, since the donors to the party said you need to do something for us or we will reconsider next year’s donations. I wish I were making this up.

Yes, the debt is a problem and we need to deal with it. Dealing with it with the credit limit looks like something major is being done, but until we adjust what we collect and spend every day, then it is all for nothing. By the way, the bill that just passed the House which is dead in the water in the Senate to reduce funding to the IRS has been estimated by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office to increase the debt by over $100 billion. It seems, policing tax filings is problematic for wealthy donors. It should be noted that the Trump Organization was penalized for tax fraud just following the week the dead-end bill was passed and its CFO was sentenced to a stay in a jail.

And, to be crystal clear, do not let any politician or opinion host tell you that we can solve our debt problem with only tax increases or spending cuts. We need both. The math will not work if we don’t do both. Full stop. But, don’t take my word for it. Please check out the website for the Committee on a Responsible Federal Budget and read.

No delusions – poor governance in action

In case you had any delusions that the new majority in the US House would offer up good governance, please note:

– Returning Congress representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar have been seated on Committees by Speaker Kevin McCarthy, after being removed in the last Congress for their inflammatory and inane remarks. When I think of Greene and Gosar, the words reasonable and collaborative are not top of mind.

– New Congressman George Santos, the one with the highly fabricated resume, will be seated on two Committees by Speaker McCarthy. Instead of advocating for his being censured or even removed, Santos gets two Committee assignments. I guess the Speaker holds lying in higher regard than most people. Either that or he needed his vote to remain Speaker and will put up with anything.

– Numerous bills have been proposed to restrict voting. As an independent voter, the greater problem in America is not enough people voting. So, these bills are the opposite of what is needed, in my simple view. It is highly disappointing that people have been led to believe that there is a huge voter fraud problem. There is not. Yet Republicans seized on this issue because the former president has too shallow an ego to admit he lost and they must have cheated him.

I have stayed away from a key policy difference which is how to go about reducing first our deficit and debt. Once again, the Republicans have pretended to care about the deficit when not in the White House by trying to alter our credit limit not our pocketbook cash flow. The expenditures have already been made, so we need more money and less outflow. The last time our debt limit was held hostage by Senator Ted Cruz, he would later go on to vote for a tax reduction to increase the debt by about $2 trillion, so he obviously did not care that much about it.

I have called the Speaker again to share my disappointment with the three committee assignments. We need serious-minded people to discuss our issues and possible solutions in a serious manner. These three folks have not shown an ability to do that. As for the voting restrictions, if you have to manage turn out to win, then maybe it is your message.

A solution to US debt – listen to Maya MacGuineas

I have long said anyone can promote a tax cut. Actually, in the right crowd I may use a couple of more descriptive words to define how easy it is. In truth, it is not hard to sell. Same goes with beating on the IRS. No one likes the IRS (or your country’s version of it), but it performs a necessary service. Our government cannot function without revenue. So, tax cuts and being critical of the IRS appears to be, but is not necessarily good governance. Often it is just the opposite.

With our US debt the way it is fast approaching $30 trillion and building toward more than $40 trillion, some poor president is going to run on raising taxes and cutting expenses and last only one term if he or she delivers on that needed promise. Think of what happened to the Greece president who put them in an austerity program to avoid them going belly-up a few years ago.

If that happened in the US, the president will have done a great service, but will be fired for it. So, what we need is a person with smarts, diplomacy, and chutzpah. We need someone who has the respect of many across party lines.

I have just the person for the job. Her name is Maya MacGuineas who is the Director of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. She is held in high regard by leadership of both parties. I would love to see her help set in motion the resolution to the problem.

MacGuineas is a Northwestern University graduate with a masters from Harvard University.

Per Wikipedia, “MacGuineas served briefly at the Brookings Institution early in her career, then spent two years at Paine Webber as an equity analyst on Wall Street. She also advised the 2000 presidential campaign of John McCain on Social Security.

She became a senior fellow and director of the Fiscal Policy Program at New America (organization)] At New America, she oversaw its work on the federal budget, entitlement programs, and taxes.

In 2009, she did a stint on the editorial board of The Washington Post. She previously served on the Board of Directors of Common Cause. She also served on the Domenici-Rivlin Debt Reduction Task Force.

She currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Penn-Wharton Budget Model. She is Co-Chair of the National Budgeting Roundtable.

MacGuineas also serves on the Economic Strategy Group of the Aspen Institute. In addition, she is a Member of the National Academy of Social Insurance.

Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

MacGuineas has served as president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a non-partisan public policy organization dedicated to fiscal issues, since 2003. The Committee has been described as a “budget watchdog” by The Hill (newspaper). In 2018, she noted that she is a political independent and that the Committee is critical of both parties.

Under her leadership, the Committee grew in stature as it became a prominent voice for tackling rising national debt that is projected to reach record levels as a share of the economy in the years to come. A Roll Call article stated, “the previously obscure organization, a home for former federal budget officials, has been pulled into the spotlight, speaking to what its members and supporters argue is the overriding fiscal issue of the time.”[15]

In 2012, she became head of the Campaign to Fix the Debt, a project of the Committee that seeks a comprehensive and bipartisan approach to addressing rising national debt. Business leaders, economists, and budget experts became involved with the Campaign, as well as thousands of grassroots supporters.

She has testified before congressional committees on several occasions. A Wall Street Journal piece described her as an ‘anti-deficit warrior.

We have a serious problem with our debt and it will get worse. The solutions must include tax increases and spending cuts. The math will not otherwise work. Do not let anyone tell you it will. They are blowing smoke at you. Both are needed. Let’s give her the job of president and tell the folks in Congress to listen to her guidance. She wields a data-driven set of approaches that will help if done in concert.

Tax fraud and IRS defunding

The same week the US House passed a bill to cut funding to the IRS that had been agreed to last year, an interesting tax fraud case was settled. This bill is dead in the water, but we should also remember the previous president gutted some funding and staffing to the IRS. Please note, no one likes the IRS, but they perform a needed function to help fund our government. And, for those who complain the loudest, that includes those tanks and fighter jets as defense spending is our biggest spend.

The tax fraud involves the previous president. In short, the Trump Organization was penalized $1.6 million for tax fraud yesterday. While its CFO, Allen Weisselberg was sentenced earlier this week, the former president may be put on trial. The person whose name is on the banner, and seemingly everything he owns, claims he did not know about the fraud. Really? Your name is on the buildings you own or lease and you continuously brag about how much you know about taxes, saying “I know more about taxes than anyone in the history of taxes.”

Ironically, $1.6 million is the same number a New York judge told Trump he had to repay the Trump Foundation a few years ago for using its funds for personal use. This was before the Foundation was ordered terminated and all monies distributed to charity. It should be noted the judge also forbade anyone named Trump from overseeing the distribution process. That was tax fraud as well.

Later this year, it is likely the State of Georgia will bring charges against Trump and others for trying to influence election results. The Grand Jury is looking over all the testimony to determine such. And, it is also likely, the US Department of Justice will bring charges against the former president and others for seditious actions and obstruction of justice involving the January 6 insurrection. That is the recommendation of the House Select Committee.

And, he may face charges for hiding classified documents and not being very forthcoming with their return. Joe Biden is being looked at as well for something similar, but it is my understanding the Biden folks brought this to the attention of the Justice department.

I started with the IRS defunding bill as with our deficit and debt in the US, we need to be finding more revenue as well as making spending cuts. That was the conclusion of the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles Deficit Reduction Committe and remains the standing of the nonpartisan Committee on a Responsible Federal Budget. There is a push on reducing the deficit and debt, but it needs to look at both revenue and spending. It should be noted the IRS bill, if passed, would have increased the deficit by $114 billion. Why? Tax fraud would go more unchecked.

Gumpish questions – a reprise

The following post was written three years ago in 2019. It still has relevance, in my view.

I have written a few posts on asking more why questions, but let me define a few dumb questions, in the spirit of a fictitious character, Forrest, Forrest Gump. It is amazing how these questions don’t leap off the news pages or out of cyberspace.

In know particular order…

Help me understand how the president can cause a problem, then get kudos (or claim such), when he solves (or lessens) his own problem?

Forrest Gump answered his drill sergeant’s question of his purpose? “To do exactly what you tell me to do, drill sergeant!” The drill sergeant called Gump a “genius” for his answer.

Help me understand how one of the largest US Christian denominations cannot resolve conflict and will be splitting in two? What message does that send?

Forrest Gump’s girl Jenny gave Forrest the best answer to danger. What should he do? “Run, Forrest, run.”

Help me understand how legislators, presidential candidates and current president don’t seem to care that our annual deficit and debt are exploding?

Forrest’s mama answered her son’s question of what is his destiny? “Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you are going to get.”

How can people not see the intense and elongated forest fires in Australia, Brazil and California and not think we have a new paradigm with our heating planet?

Forrest got a Purple Heart. When asked where he was shot, he said “I got shot in the buttocks. They said it was a million dollar wound, but I haven’t seen any of that money.”

How can people feel that putting a face on an opposing argument, then beating on that person can pass for reasoned counter argument (think Al Gore and Greta Thunberg)?

Lieutenant Dan showed up at dockside to honor his promise that he would be Forrest’s first mate if he got a shrimp boat. He told Forrest he wanted to get his “sea legs.” Forrest said, “But, you don’t have no legs.” “Yes, I know this,” Lt. Dan replied.

Help me understand why important people are so cavalier with their reputations by spending time with Jeffrey Epstein and underage girls (think Prince Andrew, Donald Trump, Bill Clinton)?

Forrest answered Bubba’s mother when she asked “if he was crazy or just plain stupid?” Forrest uttered his classic line, “Stupid is as stupid does.” That is a profound statement.

Let me close with another Forrest observation. One of the key parts of the story is his relationship with Bubba, an African-American man he met in Vietnam. There is a metaphor in the middle of the movie, where Bubba asks Forrest to lean his back up against his, so that they both could sleep sitting up and stay out of the mud. Reminds me of a song called “Lean on me.” If we just do more of that, we can both stay out of the mud.

Tell me why?

The chorus to the popular Beatles’ song “Tell me why?” goes:

“Tell me why you cried
And why you lied to me
Tell me why you cried
And why you lied to me”

I have been a broken record on the need to ask more “why” questions of politicians. In so doing, maybe their “undergarments of untruths” might begin to show from beneath their outer appearances. And, if they evade answering, ask it again. Politicians do not want their lying to be discovered. Plus, some lie so much, they don’t know where the truth stops and the lies begin.

Here are few questions to help bare those undergarments of untruths.

  • Why did the new Republican majority in the US House vote to defund a recent request to increase funding to the IRS on the very same day (per CNN) that “Allen Weisselberg, former President Donald Trump’s long-time chief financial officer, was sentenced by a New York judge to five months in jail for his role in a decade-long tax fraud scheme after testifying as the state’s witness against the Trump Organization.” No one likes the IRS, but they perform a needed function and this request was to make improvements and restore funding that the previous president took away. I believe his name is Trump, and his organization will be sentenced later in the week.
  • Why do Republicans only care about the deficit when a Democrat is in the White House? And, why is that same former president making hay over the debt and deficit when he did absolutely nothing about it for four years. In fact, he made it about $2 trillion worse with his tax cut that mainly benefitted the wealthy and corporations per the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Republicans touted this tax cut would pay for itself, but that line of thinking has been horse excrement for a very long time and still is. Democrats could be much better at addressing the debt and deficit, but they are better at it than Republicans.
  • Why do people follow so-called leaders who have the most shallow of egos? Whether their name is Kim Jung-Un, Jair Bolsonaro, Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump et al, why do these supposed strong acting men act like babies when they don’t get their way? Jung-Un’s bio reads like a Greek God’s citing all of his Olympian conquests and successes. It may even say his excrement has no odor. Neither Bolsonaro and Trump can tolerate losing which shows abysmal failure of fortitude. And, Putin has screwed up royally with his Ukraine invasion and continues to add gasoline to the fire rather admit such.
  • Why are books being banned when people can easily download them from online sources? (Note: This question is courtesy of our friend Scottie’s blog). There is an old line if you want to get more people to read or watch something, ban it. My favorite banning story was I believe espoused by Senator Ted Cruz. Cruz wanted to ban “Fahrenheit 451” which is a book about banning and burning books, with the title indicative of the temperature at which a book would burn. Ironically, Cruz once did a fillibuster by reading “The Lorax” by Dr. Seuss on the floor of the Senate. This fossil fuel proponent was reading a book about protecting the environment.
  • Why does anyone follow some of the inane and mean-spirited acting people who are now in the halls of legislature, including the US Congress? Gerrymandering has created safe districts where people who should not be in these positions can find themselves elected, as so few people vote in primaries. These folks are rather overt in their comments and actions and it should cause a lot of head scratching. I want civil discourse with folks using actual facts when they are doing our business. So, we should ask these folks to explain themselves when they denigrate opponents and untruthfully opine. Direct questions like do you really believe that or you just saying it would help?

Maybe we should change the lyrics to “Tell me why you MAKE me cry and why you lie to me?”


The Blame Game

In our age of zero-sum politics, where one side must lose when the other side wins, the people who always tend to lose in these equations are the voters that put them there. Far too little gets done. Most legislators are too busy constantly running for office and blaming the other side to do what they were hired to do.

Quite simply, the “Blame Game” has to stop. Legislator, do your job, the one you were hired to do. When I see a legislator or wanna-be legislator online or TV and I hear the Blame Game start up, I turn it off. The other side is at fault for something.

I don’t want to hear it. What I want to hear is if that is a problem, what do you intend to do about it? Don’t just tell me why something is wrong or wrong in your mind, what is your solution to fix it? The corollary to this is only speak of real problems and do not waste my time on contrived or over-inflated ones. And, a second corollary to this is don’t tell me what a funder wants you to tell me.

Neither side owns all of the good ideas and both sides have some bad ones. And, both sides use the Blame Game. Yet, what frustrates me more than anything, one side has lost its way and no longer has a voted-on platform of positions and has become untethered to the truth. So, its followers listen to a litany of things that are wrong that I do not see as much of a problem. These are wedge issues that are heightened to demonize the other side and not really solve much else.

The other side is far from perfect, but at least speaks to the issues of import and have actually helped pass a few key pieces of legislation at the federal level. Yet, they have some blind spots as well, one of which is dealing with the debt and deficit. Yet, before the other side gets too smug about this issue, they have done a poor job of dealing with it as well. In fact, outside of some deficit relief in the Inflation Reduction bill, the only major piece of deficit reduction was in a sequestration fall-back that kicked in when Congress could not agree on a budget about nine years ago.

So, voters it is well within our rights and even duties to ask “what do you plan to do about it?” And, when the answer is not given, ask it again. If the answer is to blame someone, maybe we should just say “if you don’t have any ideas, maybe you should step aside and let someone else have a crack at it.”

A few more musings before year-end

To me, a few good things have happened and are happening this year to get us back between the white lines on the highway. In no particular order:

  • Jair Bolsonaro lost his bid for reelection in Brazil. As expected, he is pulling a Trump saying the election was stolen from him, but everyone else, including party leadership, are moving on. “But, I won by a huge margin,” he can be heard saying in Portuguese to the departing caravan of people.
  • Boris Johnson was shown the door in the UK as Prime Minister. The only good thing about Johnson’s tenure is he got to oversee the Brexit mess he helped create before succumbing to a series of unforced errors, as they like to say in tennis.
  • Not to be outdone, I was told before she was appointed by the Tories as new Prime Minister, that Liz Truss was not the best of replacements. She proved the author of this concern correct, lasting only 45 days in a mistake-filled tenure.
  • In Australia, apparently climate change, environmental concerns and paid child leave are important as Conservatives who passed on these issues, were swept out of office over the summer with the new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese taking the oath. Between the wildfires and depleting barrier reef, rising temperatures is not a friend to the country/ continent.
  • In Ukraine, Vladimir Putin is realizing what happens when someone stands up to a bully. Volodymyr Zelenskyy has shown what leadership looks like, while Putin has shown what autocratic rule looks like. Fortunately, Russians are starting to see what the world sees and his days may be numbered.
  • And, at long last, with the Tax Fraud conviction by a jury of the Trump Organization and the investigation and released Executive Summary by the House Select Committee, the former president is starting to get his come-uppance as he truly spirals out of control blasting anyone who dares criticize him or not genuflect enough. Plus, there are other legal matters in Georgia, Pennsylvania and Mar-a-Lago that he needs to contend with.
  • Joe Biden is far from perfect, but he has shown that things can get accomplished to help the greater good. I am very pleased the Respect for Marriage Act, some gun governance and an infrastructure and climate change bill were passed. Sadly, neither party seems to care about the debt and deficit, so some poor soul will have to get the blame for doing what is needed – raising revenue and cutting expenses – as the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles Deficit Reduction Plan concluded, when the debt was about 1/4 the total it is now.

Have a peaceful and enjoyable Christmas. Stay warm and travel safe.

Views from an independent, former Republican and Democrat voter

For what they are worth, the following are the views of an old fart who can sing the lyrics with truth behind them to Paul McCartney’s song about age; “will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty-four.” I have been a Republican for over 20 years and Democrat for less than five. Around the 2007-08 timeframe, I left the GOP to become an Independent voter.

I would add I am more conservative, especially in financial matters, and more progressive in other issues. I believe in helping people climb a ladder when needed, but we need to be able to pay for it. I am also a big believer in Teddy Roosevelt’s mantra of a Square Deal, meaning giving everyone equal opportunity and I am also a believer in Franklin Roosevelt’s Fair Deal, which helped people who were disenfranchised and broken.

Politics seems to be less about policy and more about designed, fabricated and embellished wedge issues. To be frank, the Republican party public relation spin doctors do not want their candidates to speak about real issues, unless it is blame someone that they really have little control over. Democrats embellish and even lie as well, but it is not a normal distribution being heavily tilted to the right.

Let me set aside the obvious concerns this election and speak to a few policy concerns.

-the Republican Party has no platform, as they did not vote on one in the 2020 GOP presidential convention in Charlotte. Senator Rick Scott, who is heading the Senate campaign, came up with one, but it did not reach consensus. This is a one reason Republicans will not tell you what they will do to solve the problems as they don’t know. The PR people said don’t put a stake in the ground and no one can fault you for it. So, ask them “what do you plan to do about it?”

-Democrats are not perfect, but they are at least addressing or attempting to address issues. A gun governance law was passed (although watered down to garner votes by Republicans), laws impacting infrastructure funding, climate change funding, renewable energy measures, and health care premium and drug costs stabilization were passed and subsidies were passed to help people during the pandemic, building off the ones passed under Trump’s tenure. We also returned to the Paris Climate Change Accord. While an abatement is being provided on federal student loans, I personally would have rather seen something deal with healthcare debt, which is the number one reason for personal bankruptcy.

-Outside of the pandemic help, the key thrusts of the Trump administration were to repeal and replace the ACA (which thankfully failed), give a huge tax break to the wealthy and corporations, masking that the middle class may not come out ahead with limitations on state tax deductions and place tariffs on our trading partners which upset markets causing supply chain issues which were worsened by the pandemic. We also harmed our relationships by focusing more on the transactional and we pulled out of three major accords that went on without us – the Paris Climate Change Accord, the Trans-Pacific Partnership to better compete with China and the Iran Nuclear Deal.

-We should be talking more about what should matter most to people – helping them feed their families, pay for healthcare and keep a roof over their heads. We must deal more with environmental issues as a steward of this country and planet – on top of climate change, we have a global water crisis, that is being exacerbated even worse by climate change and lack of decision-making. If that were not enough, we have a lead pipe issue for distributing the diminished water supply. And, we must protect all people’s rights, not just those who look or worship a certain way. Finally, we have too many in a country this successful going to bed hungry. That is a damn shame.

-What we don’t need to be talking about is contrived issues that really don’t matter a whole lot. I won’t even mention them now as that would give them more cover than they deserve. If I did not mention it above, with the exceptions below, then maybe it is not that big of an issue.

The exceptions are two. We have a debt and deficit problem in our country that has been made worse with the last two administrations. Neither party does well with this issue. Neither. The GOP likes to beat on their chest about it, but made the debt worse under the previous president. The current administration did something about, but that is after making it worse with pandemic subsidies. Obama did something about, but only because both parties put in this sequestration fall back position that made cuts if no deal was reached. No deal was reached.

We have immigration concerns, but the problem is nowhere near as bad as portrayed and was not that bad in 2016 either, even though it was played up. I would ask Republicans if you want to deal with immigration, why did Speaker John Boehner not bring to a vote a bipartisan immigration bill which passed the Senate, which had enough votes to pass the House? Why did the former president renege on his number one campaign issue when a bipartisan deal was reached to give $25 billion for his border wall for making DACA a law? The reason is PR people told the GOP not resolving immigration issues was a more winning issue than solving them – not my words, by the way, but I agree.

Setting aside all of the above, as an independent, I feel my old Republican party is adrift an untethered to the truth. Michael Gerson, a conservative pundit, said the “party is in decay.” When the truth tellers are vilified and the liars aggrandized, it is does not lead to gravitas and veritas. If you tout a Big Lie, then it greases the skids to lie about more things. I believe our voters need to send a strong message to any Republican who touts the former president’s bogus election fraud story and to any Republican who has rationalized his deceitful and illicit behavior. They are perpetuating a fraud on the American people and many know they are so doing, which is even worse.

I encourage people to research how candidates stand on issues. If they support the Big Lie, then dig even deeper. And, know there is one party bent on restricting dissenting votes leveraging the Big Lie. My advice is know the rules and vote. And, remember who wants you not to as you do, as your voice does matter.