The dark side of compromise


On Thursday, Pew Research published the results of a new poll outlining how Americans view Washington. Much of the poll focuses on the relative positives and negatives of the nation’s leaders, especially President Obama’s personal and professional popularity. However, one section focused on how the American people view Washington’s ability to do its job.

From the poll results, two important charts:

Given the split control of Washington and the constant media push for “compromise” for its own sake, it is only natural most of the American people want more compromise. However, I propose there are two errors in this thinking.

First, there has already been plenty of compromise in the last two years. Republicans have repeatedly compromised on spending cuts and tax increases. Some Democrats have compromised in their own way, raising taxes less than they want to and reducing spending slightly. Unfortunately, these compromises have done almost nothing to circumvent the coming fiscal collapse in America.

The other problem with thinking we need more compromise is that it is used in error in politics. As Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) explained to me last year in an interview:

This is what the “grand bargain” idea was all about. Democrats think working with us on Social Security will bring a compromise. They think we want changes to Social Security and we will agree to bring taxes up. This is wrong-headed. We are not jumping up and down to reform entitlements; we want to fix them because they are broken. The Deficit Commission wanted a “grand bargain,” but the whole concept misses the point.

Senator Paul is exactly right. “Compromise” takes place when one negotiator gets part of what he or she wants and the other side gets part of what they want. However, the Washington inclination to call entitlement reform “compromise” and spending cuts “compromise” ignores the simple truth that spending is the problem, and anything that does not directly address this problem makes things worse.

The American public has  been misled by Washington and its mainstream media allies. This means those of us in the Tea Party must continue to explain the real facts about the debt to the public over the next few months, as the budget debates reach a short-term climax. The future of our nation depends on it.