The idea of compromise is actually quite simple. In its purest form it means that you take two steps towards me, I take two steps towards you and we have now met in the middle. We each give up a bit from our initial stance, but now we have found an area of agreement and we can move forward. For instance – the problem is that we are both hungry. It’s lunch time. Neither of us brought lunch to work so we need to go out to get food. You want to sit down to eat and want to be served your food. I want something fast since I have a deadline and I really want something hot – preferably a burger. You are a vegetarian. So we look at all our options within a certain driving distance and end up compromising on Souplantation. You get to sit (though you are not being served) and you get your vegetarian choices (though somewhat more limited than on a restaurant menu). I get my food fast enough than I am willing to sit to eat (though not as fast as a drive through when I could return straight back to work and eat at my desk). They have a really good chili so I am willing to give up on my burger craving. We both give up a couple earlier requirements and happily head out for lunch. If either of us refused to bend, we end up frustrated & angry and perhaps even still hungry due to our lack of ability to compromise.
The same holds true in politics. This debt ceiling debate is all about compromise. But one side is not bending and if nothing is done, then Americans will go hungry. I’m really getting tired of listening to any member of the sitting GOP politicians continue to insist that there can be NO tax code changes. Not minimal – NONE. In one sentence they say the President needs to negotiate with them and then the very next they follow up with “NO revenue adjustments!” If I hear “We don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem!” one more time I swear I will throw a shoe at my TV. Which won’t do anything but make me feel better for a brief moment. Sort of like the GOP declaring that every time. Makes them feel good I suppose. Principled in some odd way. Appealing to their Tea Party infused base. But long term? It just results in a broken TV..err..a broken American economy.
I’m not a policy wonk, or an economic expert in any shape or form. I will not even try to drop an opinion on exactly what needs to be done here. I just know what I sense and hear from the people around me who are NOT deeply engaged in every nuance of the political game. My friends who are voters, but not political geeks. They aren’t on twitter for politics. They rarely watch cable news chatter shows. They might catch the local news or a headline online somewhere. And those folks? Well, it’s seeping in to them that the President is compromising. No matter the details and whether they like them or not, they are getting the message about who is doing what in the process. Most of them know even on a practical level and there needs to be an increase in revenue to go along with the decreasing in expenses. It’s certainly what WE are all doing. Politicians LOVE to keep pointing to “It’s what the American people want” and “It’s what families have had to do!” to justify the deep expense cuts to programs that are still sorely needed. Yet they seem to forget the part where we also look for MORE REVENUE in our lives too. Yes, we’ve had to tighten our belts, but guess what? I know I am looking for ways to MAKE more money too. Sell off some old stuff hanging around gathering dust. Maybe go ahead and put some ads up on my blogs to see what I can generate. Work a booth at a blog conference for some $ & entry fee. The point is – if politicians are so in touch with what *I* – an American person – wants them to do then they would be following the rules of compromise a lot closer. Quite insisting on McDonalds! Go to Souplantation! We’re hungry!