I worked for a contractor who enjoyed negotiating contracts. I listened to him work to get to a middle ground with a property owner/developer and when it was close, if the developer wouldn’t budge off his price and come up a little, Roy would raise and not lower his last offer. “Sorry. Looked over my numbers. We just can’t come down to that price; in fact, I’ll have to come up a little to be able to do the job.”
You would think that tactic wouldn’t work, but I saw it work over and over. The developer would consider for a bit and would usually agree to the higher price. “I like to see how far they’ll come up from their original number. That lets me know how much they want the work done and lets me up the ante.”
That’s the way I feel these debt negotiations are going. Every time moderates in both political parties agree to a concession, the RWCJA’s up the ante. Now we’ve got a balanced budget amendment and raising the budget in two parts on the table. What happened to the concept of giving a little to get a little? Moderates are giving up alot, it seems, to get almost nothing.
I watched Boehner on 60 Minutes Sunday. To Stahl’s comment “Governing means compromise,” Boehner said, “I reject the word.” Evidently, he read the negative connotation of compromise which likens compromise to surrender or capitulation.
In 1775, Edmund Burke called on the British Parliament to work with the American colonies in order to avoid war: “All government, indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue, and every prudent act, is founded on compromise.” It appears that our Tea Party pleasing Republicans see that concept as outmoded. Congress had a long time tradition of swapping out to make things work out; over the past 20 years, they’ve gotten strident about their way or the highway. This year has been horrible in terms of finding the best way by working together.
“We did not get you the gavel of the House of Representatives to play nice with the liberal Democrats,” said C.L. Bryant, a minister who has spoken at several tea party rallies. Tea party blogger, Lee Bellinger, writes of “the disease of Republican compromise” that “infects Washington.” And William Temple, chairman of the Tea Party Founding Fathers, declared: “As the GOP primary season opens, if House freshmen and others elected by the tea party caved to Obama, we will find replacements for them.”
Where’s the truth about our deficit? Factcheck.org has a balanced approach in looking at the budget and cleared up a couple of misconceptions I had. First, although the budget balanced and had a surplus during the part of the Clinton years, we still had a huge national debt. We decreased it somewhat, but it was still there.
Second, we have both a spending problem and a money shortfall. Our spending is a larger percentage of our GNP than it’s been since WWII, but the money we collect has fallen to the lowest level in 60 years. Federal income tax accounted for 41% of our U.S. income in 2010; it was 49.6% prior to the Bush tax cuts.
Finally, we have G-Dub’s prescription bill signed into law in 2003 as well as the stimulus package, bank bailout, and the health care initiative signed into law by Obama. All of these are expensive programs. On the plus side, the bank bailout which loaned out $573 billions has been repaid $322 billion. And spending for the stimulus is just about done.
The truth is that between Medicare and Social Security, we spend nearly double what we spend on national defense. I’m not sure what the solution is, but I know that the blame for all this mess can be laid at the door of both parties.
Einstein said that “God does not play dice with the universe.” It appears our Congress is playing poker with our U.S. future. I’m not thrilled at being part of Texas Hold ’em. The cost of folding is way too high.