The debt ceiling drama ended with more of a whimper than a bang, with President Biden averting both a default and the harshest safety net cuts the GOP was demanding.

But as Karen Dolan explains this week — and as cartoonist Khalil Bendib clearly agrees — that doesn’t mean the deal was harmless. And unless Biden and lawmakers abolish the archaic debt ceiling altogether, she argues, it sets a precedent for more “hostage taking” in the years to come.

Also this week, author and advocate David Pepper explains how Disney got itself in hot water with Florida’s far-right statehouse in part by donating to some of the very lawmakers who took extreme turns on LGBTQ rights and other issues. Extremism doesn’t pay, David explains — and it’s up to consumers to teach businesses that lesson.

On a grimly related note, lawyer and civil rights movement veteran Mitchell Zimmerman also looks at states that have rushed to pass ever more extreme anti-trans bills, including Florida. Mitchell warns there are very real parallels between this cruel scapegoating and what the Nazis did in Germany — a fact attested by the avid participation of neo-Nazi groups in harassing LGBTQ events. It’s a weighty charge but it’s worth taking seriously.

New This Week…

Extremism Is Bad for Business | David Pepper
As Disney learned, supporting statehouse extremists will come back to haunt you. Consumers must teach more businesses that lesson — and fast.

Next Time, Abolish the Debt Ceiling | Karen Dolan
The debt ceiling doesn’t reduce debt — it just creates one hostage situation after another, as Americans just learned the hard way.

Anti-Trans Politicians Are Following the Nazi Playbook | Mitchell Zimmerman
Right-wingers don’t have any answers for the issues that matter, so they’re viciously attacking a vulnerable minority.

Cartoon: The Miracle of Bipartisanship | Khalil Bendib
Sometimes a little partisanship would be nice.

In Case You Missed It…

Prayer Helped Me Survive Poverty, But I Needed Government Help Too | Trish Brown
Our social safety net is flawed but vital. Let’s work together to protect it from political attacks.

Southern Workers Are Defying History | Tom Conway
Successful union campaigns could raise wages, reduce poverty, and spread democracy in the former Confederacy.

CEOs Get to Retire Comfortably. Workers Like Me Deserve the Same. | Cynthia Murray
Our tax laws shouldn’t protect giant CEO retirement accounts when my coworkers and I can’t afford to save at all.

The SNAP Expansion Helped Me Lead a Dignified Life on Disability — Now It’s Gone | Joyce Kendrick
Pandemic social programs were a life saver for me. Not only have they expired, but now conservatives want to shred what little is left.

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Peter Certo

Peter Certo is the communications director of the Institute for Policy Studies and editor of

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