WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - AUGUST 9, 2023
In this week's Intersect, read about:
Fitch Downgrades U.S. Credit
“Fitch Ratings downgraded the U.S. government’s credit rating from ‘AAA’ to ‘AA+,’ a signal that the agency no longer has complete confidence in the government’s ability to avoid default. The rating ‘reflects the expected fiscal deterioration over the next three years, a high and growing general government debt burden, and the erosion of governance … that has manifested in repeated debt limit standoffs and last-minute resolutions.’ The ratings downgrade will increase federal borrowing costs, and it undermines the narrative that the economy is currently flourishing.” read more at Washington Stand
- The government has three major credit-rating agencies: S&P, Moody's, and Fitch. Last week, Fitch downgraded the country's rating due to "repeated debt-limit political standoffs." Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen called the downgrade "flawed," "puzzling," and "entirely unwarranted."
- Last month, the Bipartisan Fiscal Forum launched with the goal of identifying and addressing the largest drivers of national debt. It’s led by U.S. Reps. Bill Huizenga (R-MI) and Scott Peters (D-CA) who are sounding the alarm. Who is the US in debt to? This tongue-in-cheek video gives valuable insight – you might be surprised at the countries mentioned.
- Why should you care about nation’s debt? We all have felt the sting of high inflation and rising interest rates. The national debt is now well past $32 trillion. Rising deficits mean the debt will continue to balloon and as the debt increases, economic growth slows – and leads to even higher interest rates. In 2022, interest payments on the national debt totaled $475 billion – the highest dollar amount on record. In the next 30 years, spending on net interest will become the nation’s biggest expenditure, surpassing even Social Security.
- The nation’s fiscal health truly affects us all – our own future and future generations. Americans should demand Congress and President Biden start taking fiscal responsibility seriously. The US debt highlights the importance of who we elect. Fitch’s reason for downgrading the government’s credit was “the erosion of governance.” As our CEO has stated, “There is nothing moral or admirable about carelessly loading debt onto future generations. It’s time Americans draw a line in the sand and demand our elected representatives push back on socialist spending sprees. We have a moral obligation to speak out against this reckless squandering and mortgaging of our children’s futures.”
Pray that government officials make prudent decisions that move our nation out of the crushing burden of debt, for “the borrower is the slave of the lender” (Proverbs 22:7).
Where do your elected officials stand on fiscal responsibility? Use this helpful tool by Vote Smart. Simply enter their name and you’ll find their records, positions and ratings on the issue here.
Ohio Defeats Issue 1, Now State Must Stop Amendment for Abortions Up to Birth
“Ohio voters gave radical abortion activists a huge victory today as they defeated Issue 1, which would have made it more difficult for abortion activists to approve a state amendment that would allow killing babies in abortions up to birth. Radical abortion activists spent well over $10 million on ads trying to defeat Issue 1, and misled state voters through the liberal and media misinformation campaign. Ohioans for Reproductive Freedom and Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights raised nearly $10 million, most of it from donors outside the state just like in other ballot amendment battles.” read more at LifeNews
- A record turnout of over 3 million voters rejected the measure 57% to 42%. President Biden praised the outcome stating, "This measure was a blatant attempt to weaken voters’ voices and further erode the freedom of women to make their own health care decisions…Ohioans spoke loud and clear, and tonight democracy won."
- The defeat of Issue 1 keeps in place a simple majority threshold for passing future constitutional amendments, rather than the 60% supermajority that was proposed.
- In Federalist No. 58, James Madison noted that supermajority votes could serve as a "shield to some particular interests, and another obstacle generally to hasty and partial measures." Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist No. 73, highlighted how the supermajority “guards the community against the effects of faction, precipitancy, or of any impulse unfriendly to the public good, which may happen to influence a majority of that body."
- Ohio is one of 18 states that allow for citizen-initiated amendments to the state constitution. Supporters of Issue 1 said the higher bar would protect the state’s foundational document from outside interest groups. It was outside groups who poured money into the state to defeat the single issue on yesterday’s ballot.
- Abortion is currently legal in Ohio up to 22 weeks of gestation. A six-week abortion ban signed by Gov. Mike DeWine (R) in 2019 was put on hold by the courts in December.
- Abortion extremists have the wind in their sails as they march to the November 7 election seeking to enshrine abortion as an Ohio constitutional right with little to no government oversight. Pastors, churches, and Christians across America please pay attention. What is happening in Ohio is more than a political battle, it is an ideological war. Special interest groups are doing everything they can to dehumanize babies, take parents out of the equation, and breakdown families. Make no mistake, Ohio is not the end of the road.
Lord, You are not anxious about the government or the outcomes of elections, but that doesn’t mean You are not grieved when evil is rejoiced over. Help me to remember that politics and earthly kingdoms will one day fade away, but Your Word endures forever. You have put me in this time and place for a purpose; give me strength to stand firm, knowing that “on Christ the solid Rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.”
Sunday, September 17 is My Faith Votes’ 5th annual National Voter Registration Sunday. Make sure your church participates! Visit our special website, Voter Registration Sunday, to access free tools and resources for your church. There is a step-by-step guide explaining how to lead a successful non-partisan voter registration drive in your church. Within the guide, you will find links to resources that are designed specifically for you, including: media graphics, drafted messaging for social media, church emails, videos and best practice tips to ensure your drive is a success. Leverage the resources that make the most sense for your church. Our prayer is that God would use you to help activate more Christ-followers in your church to bring their faith into the voting booth.
Surprising What Is—and Isn’t—in 3rd Trump Indictment, Legal Expert Says
“Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday was indicted for a third time, and ‘it’s striking that there’s really nothing new in the indictment,’ Steven Bradbury says. The latest indictment by special counsel Jack Smith is ‘all based on what we already knew publicly from the work of the Jan. 6 committee and from all the news coverage,’ Bradbury said, adding that the new indictment is ‘hollow in the sense of no new allegations.’” read more at the Daily Signal
- This is truly historic. A former president has never been indicted under criminal charges once–much less three times. The fact that this is happening under the Justice Department overseen by Trump’s former and potential future political opponent only adds to its unprecedented nature. Such a move should have been made with great caution. Yet the legal arguments in this case against Trump are quite controversial.
- According to the Wall Street Journal, “the indictment charges one obstruction and three conspiracy counts related to what it claims was a broad effort to overturn the 2020 election based on “dishonesty, fraud, and deceit.” You can read it here. It asserts that Trump knew his claims about election fraud were false, and that while he had a right to say those claims, he broke the law when he acted on them.
- The editors of National Review argue, "To criminalize the conduct for which [special counsel Jack Smith] seeks to convict Trump, Congress would have to write sweeping laws that could easily be wielded by one party against another to punish objectionable political conduct. That would undermine both electoral politics and the rule of law.”
- Hans von Spakovsky writes, “There is no evidence of the specific intent called for … to show that Trump was trying to keep legitimate voters from casting their ballot or having their votes counted, as opposed to contesting the outcome of an election he thought was stolen.”
- There isn’t a simple division between those who believe the election was stolen and those who don’t, or even between those who think what Trump did was right versus wrong. There are some who disagree with these charges and yet believe Trump’s actions and his claims of election fraud were wrong. But the critical question in this case is, “Were they illegal?” We should be concerned with how this case interprets the laws—particularly the First Amendment rights to free speech and to petition the government for a redress of grievances—which apply to all of us.
Lord, in this case, as in every case, we pray for justice. You’ve told us, “For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing.” (Isaiah 61:8) Let that be true of us, and of the people we elect and the judges who are elected and appointed. Thank You for being the perfectly just Judge who will make all things right when You return to reign.
My Faith Votes’ CEO, Jason Yates, recently interviewed John Solomon, Editor-in-Chief of the popular news site, Just the News, to discuss the battles Christians face with the media today. I encourage you to watch and share this on how to discern the truth in the midst of misleading narratives.
Biden Administration Puts the Final Nail in the Coffin for Incandescent Light Bulbs
“On Tuesday, the Biden administration put the final nail in the coffin for incandescent light bulbs, the result of a decade-plus-long legislative path. The first step in the journey began in 2007 when the Energy Independence and Security Act passed. The phase-out of light bulbs that have energy efficiency standards of more than 45 lumens per watt has been gradual. On Tuesday, the last stage of that gradual roll-out ended.” read more at CNBC
- Why did the federal government do this? The Department of Energy claims LED lights provide more light using 75% less energy, last 25 times longer than incandescent light bulbs, and are estimated to save families about $100 per year. The department also claimed that this regulation will save Americans nearly $3 billion yearly and substantially reduce carbon dioxide emissions over 30 years.
- Where did they obtain the authority for this regulation? Curiously, none of the major news stories I encountered asked how this ban can be justified under the U.S. Constitution. The Energy Department is acting under a law passed by Congress in 2007. Light bulb manufacturers wanting people to buy more expensive bulbs teamed up with environmentalists to lobby for the bill. The law required the Energy Department to evaluate whether efficiency standards for light bulbs needed to be set or amended and consider a minimum standard of energy efficiency for light bulbs of 45 lumens per watt, which would effectively ban incandescent light bulbs. Under the Obama administration, the regulations were set to take effect in early 2020. In 2019, however, the Trump administration withdrew them, claiming they did not comply with the part of the Energy Independence and Security Act that said restrictions on bulbs could only be implemented when it was economically justified. The LED bulbs, while more efficient, cost consumers more up front, especially if they need to change their lighting systems to accommodate the new bulbs.
- It’s another reminder that the values that drive these regulations are based on who we elect. Our members of Congress affect the laws that govern the regulations we live under. And who we elect for President affects the appointment of officials who oversee the interpretation and execution of those laws.
Heavenly Father, you care about politics and policies because they affect people–Your image bearers. Help me to be wise as I make decisions at the ballot box and help our elected officials to seek Your wisdom before making decisions. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Here’s a light that isn’t touched by the government’s ban: In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Ask the Lord what you can do to shine His light to those around you today!
My Faith Votes—is a nonpartisan movement that motivates, equips and activates Christians in America to vote in every election, transforming our communities and influencing our nation with biblical truth. By partnering with national faith leaders, My Faith Votes provides resources to help Christians Pray, Think, and Act to create an America where God is honored in the public square.