“Fiscal Cliff”: a product of not understanding the meaning of the word ‘compromise’
Since the November 6th elections we’ve heard the same rhetoric from our politicians. They all say something to the effect: “We need to come together. We need to compromise.” If there is anything we learned from these past elections is that Americans aren’t convinced either party solely has the best ideas to put America back on the path to prosperity. In reality the best approach to our problems is through a combination of both Democratic and Republican ideas. In effect compromise is the best solution. However, I don’t think our politicians understand the meaning of the word. I don’t think they realize that compromise means that there are concessions from both sides. Compromise means that not only your ideas will and should be used.
I’ve either heard or read most of the talking points from our elected politicians after the election. Unfortunately, I see the same stubborn GOP leaders who don’t seem to get it that Americans want them to concede on some of their ideas. Likewise, I see equally as stubborn Democratic leaders who deem the election results as a mandate that Americans agree with all their ideas. President Obama believes Americans agree with all his ideas. At least that’s what he said in his press conference.
In an interview the Friday after the election with ABC’s Diane Sawyer, Speaker of the House John Boehner said that he essentially refused to raise tax rates. Paul Ryan said the same thing with John Karl of ABC News. You can’t go into a negotiating session with the mentality of well I’m not budging, but rest assured there will be compromise. How exactly is that possible if you don’t compromise in your stance? Boehner said he would close loop holes on the wealthy (the same idea presented by Mitt Romney during the presidential campaign). As so many economists have stated those provisions alone would not be enough to offset our expenses.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi stated on Friday that there would be no deal if tax rates for the wealthy were not raised (by the way nice to see our congressmen and women back from their much “needed” vacation). President Obama wants to extend the individual income tax rates for 98% of Americans, but he will not agree to extend them for the top 2% of earners. President Obama wanted Republicans to pass a Senate bill that would extend the current lower rates for most taxpayers. He suggested he was willing to concede on the issue of how high to raise the tax rate for the 2% of earners. “With respect to the tax rates, I just want to emphasize: I am open to new ideas,” he said. Although that is exactly what the president should be saying, I would have liked to hear some ideas of his own that he believes would be in the spirit of compromise.
According to the Chicago Tribune, House Speaker Boehner has made an opening offer that would extend all the expiring tax rates for another year while Congress and the White House work on a broader overhaul of the tax code. The White House has been cool to Boehner’s offer. I don’t like Boehner’s plan. It is exactly the same, tired deals our Congress enacts right before the deadline of a catastrophe. They continue to put off dealing with the issue. Short-term fixes have created the looming “fiscal cliff.” I was watching a Sunday morning talk show last week and I heard a Democratic Congresswoman state that it might not be that bad of an idea to actually allow the “fiscal cliff” to come to fruition. She said that then the Senate could deal with the issue next year. The disillusionment with America’s problems is unfortunately the norm with our politicians. They are “out-of-touch” with the necessity to garner a deal. They neglect to fully realize the consequences a lack of deal would have on the average American. In addition, to the expected $3,600 added tax burden to each household, most economists agree another recession would soon follow.
Marc Goldwein, senior policy director for the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, suggested the following ideas:
- At minimum, our leaders need to temporarily extend today’s tax and spending rates rather than drive off the fiscal cliff.
- Second, Congress would signal that it’s serious about attacking deficits by ending mortgage deductions for second homes, certain breaks for oil and gas companies and deductions involving those corporate jets that so many politicians scorn.
- President Obama and party leaders need to begin to tackling entitlements.
I support raising the tax rates on taxpayers making a million dollars and up. It is higher than President Obama has suggested, but it would ensure that many small businesses would be safe-guarded from added taxes. I also think it is at a level that Republicans might finally agree to. I like Romney’s idea of capping deductions at $25,000 or $50,000, then letting taxpayers decide which deductions to use. President Obama often states he wanted to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans. He wants them to pay “a little more.” However, his full tax plan would cut annual deficits by only 1/10th. Eventually Democrats will have to tackle America’s spending problem.
I am hopeful, albeit probably naively so, that our politicians will broker a long-term deal. However, I expect, as usual it will be a short-term fix. There is too much at stake, at least politically, for the two parties to fail to broker a deal.
I hope I am wrong.
You never know.
Sometimes miracles do happen.
Twitter: @adrakontaidis & @talkrealdebate