A Bit 'o Random Musings on Politics, Religion, and Anything Else That Passes Through My Crazy Head

Monday, November 15, 2010

Good Compromises

Perhaps I've used this phrase before on this blog: "A Good Compromise Leaves Everybody Unhappy." This is how I felt while reading reports over the past couple days covering President Obama's deficit reduction commission. The proposals had something to offend everyone, it seemed. Conservatives hated letting the Bush tax cuts expire. Liberals despised cuts to spending programs like social security and medicare. The point is, everyone is going to have to meet halfway.

No one (least of all politicians) is right ALL the time. Nor do we live in a world where we can unilaterally force people to agree with us. This necessitates compromise and common sense. That's what disturbed me as I read both sides' reactions to the proposals. No one seemed willing to go out on a limb and do something truly courageous: compromise. We Americans, in our rugged individualism, tend to associate courage only with "taking a stand" and "not giving in." But sometimes the big and courageous decisions are those decisions that are humbly made, acknowledging that neither party is completely right and neither party is completely wrong. Part of this, I think, stems from the enormity of the problem: the deficit is HUGE and growing! It's also from the fact that it's really a FUTURE problem. Politicians don't deal well with long term challenges, in my opinion. And sometimes we, as a public, tend to tune out of the policy nuances and just say: FIX IT (see about the 2 minute mark of the SNL clip below...cracks me up).

So, currently the budget deficit is projected to exceed $1 trillion by 2030. The New York Times has come up with an interactive budget puzzle - you can choose how you would cut spending, raise taxes, or do both to come up with your solution to our budget mess. How would you solve the deficit? Remember - you won't be able to get your proposal through a divided congress unless you use ideas that appeal to both sides!

Don't be part of the problem - be part of the SOLUTION.


  1. I'm curious to see your proposed solution. Here was mine:

  2. I go back and forth on what to cut and which taxes to raise - I guess the biggest thing I learned/noticed from this is that cutting earmarks and farm subsidies, two "villains" of the federal budget, would hardly put a dent in the problem!