Is Compromise a Dirty Word?

The latest propaganda from the political-media establishment is the assertion that the Grand Congressional Super Committee failed to agree on deficit reduction, and the government’s debt problems can’t be resolved because Republicans, driven by tea party activists “refuse to compromise.” Retired General and Former Secretary of State Colin Powell echoed the establishment view in a CNN interview.

The Tea Party point of view of no compromise whatsoever is not a point of view that will eventually produce a presidential candidate who will win.

So, if there were to be a compromise between Democrats representing the progressive political movement and Republicans representing those of us in the tea party, small government movement what would it look like?

First consider the data in this chart: [continued below chart]

Spending increased continuously under both parties, for a decade.  Indeed, the GOP lost the 2006 and 2008 elections in part because conservative voters were disillusioned and stayed home.  President Obama and the Democrat majorities in the House and Senate dramatically increased spending in 2009, and have managed to maintain the elevated level.  A genuine compromise – for the sake of deficit reduction – would have to deal with spending, starting in 2012.

Tea party activists represent the voters who have been alarmed by continuous spending increases.  They aren’t a monolithic group with a single vision but most of them would, if given their way, cut spending back at least to 2008 levels.  Some would  cut back more than that.

The chart to the left illustrates a hypothetical compromise between tea party activists and progressive Democrats in Congress.  Under this compromise the Democrats would get to keep half of the huge increase they scored in 2009 and the tea party activists would get half way back to 2008.

The next chart illustrates a compromise that would, by any standard, be very generous to the Democrats.  They would get to keep almost all the increase they scored in 2009.  Spending would be cut below the 2011 level by only 5%.

It turns out that nothing even close to either of these hypothetical compromises was presented by Super Committee Republicans to the Democrats, who made very clear from the beginning that they would absolutely not discuss any spending reductions for 2012.

What did the GOP members of the Super Committee propose?  In spite of the tea party activists who helped elect their majority they were willing to allow 2012 spending to increase!  In fact, the Republicans were willing to allow Democrats to permanently bank the massive increase of 2009 AND allow spending to increase every year from now on, as far as the eye can see!

All the Super Committee Republicans asked was that from 2013 to 2022 spending would increase at an incrementally lower rate than the Democrats planned.

This last chart shows the “compromise” the Democrats in the Super Committee proposed and Obama still demands in his speeches out on the campaign trail.  Not only did they refuse to consider any decrease in 2012 spending, they demanded another massive increase, almost equal to the historic surge in spending they achieved in 2009!

They refused to consider any of the GOP’s proposed reductions in the rate of spending growth.  Instead they proposed to lie to voters, claiming that spending increases in 2012 would be offset by fictitious “cuts” supposedly achieved by not continuing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan until 2022!  And, of course they demanded massive tax increases.  Yet, the establishment media are united in blaming tea party supported Republicans for refusing to “compromise.”

The compromise between the Conservative/GOP position of no more government power and the progressive/Democrat position of a lot more government power is always the same: more government power.

Today’s crisis is the consequence of hundreds of compromises, over 80 years leaving us with an economy that can not recover from recession and a massive, unmanageable government debt. When Democrats demanded a foot, Republicans compromised, granting them 8 – 10 inches.

The GOP Presidential candidates have all been challenged to compromise by reporters and debate moderators in an effort to portray them as obstinate and unreasonable.  Liberty Works humbly offers this advice:

Republicans scored historic gains in the 2010 election largely because they refused to compromise with Democrats on either the ruinous 2009 stimulus or the Unconstitutional ObamaCare legislation.  Both are now unpopular with voters.

Because of entrenched political resistance it’s probably not possible to shrink government as quickly as we would like.  Thus, Republicans can and should be open to a compromise, but only if it moves the needle in the smaller government direction.  They must maintain principled, non-negotiable opposition to compromises that result in more government power, higher taxes, larger deficits, or less economic liberty.

For 80 years compromises in Washington have been somewhere between the status quo and the Progressive/Democratic vision of larger government.  From now on compromises in Washington must be between the status quo and a smaller, less intrusive, less expensive government.

3 Comments so far

  1. AxTex on December 1st, 2011

    Cuts in spending now, just as the economy begins to grow would slow demand & bring on a double dip recession. TeapArty are uneducated bible thumpers and tricked by republicans to vote against there own best interests.

  2. Santa's helper on December 1st, 2011

    Republicans care about one thing. Bush tax cuts for the top 2%. The American people by huge majorities want the rich to pay a fair share but republicans say no.

  3. Scott on December 1st, 2011

    Obama thinks compromise means he gets everything he wants