The Poison Pill of Political Compromise

Published on: Dec 19 2012 by The Losertarian

fiscal_cliffAs we approach the New Year, it appears as though congressional lawmakers are no closer to a “grand bargain” than they were before the election.  Despite several key senators discussing the possibility of defecting from Grover Norquist’s “no tax pledge” and the near constant cry of political pundits for compromise, the rank and file of the congressional GOP seems unwilling to go along with any deal that will result in an increase of tax rates.


Indeed, the GOP would be unwise to strike a compromise at the expense of their principles.  It has been proven throughout American history that compromise is often a poison pill to liberty.  Any compromise that yields a short-term political success at the expense of a fundamental moral value should not be praised.  America’s history of compromise is not one of moral strength but rather one of immoral political convenience.  While the debt crisis the country currently faces is clearly not morally equivalent to slavery, the lessons of history should nevertheless be remembered.


Far too many times have noble principles been sacrificed to false political idols on the altar of compromise.  In 1787, at the Constitutional Conventional, a compromise was reached to count three-fifths of the African slave population in determining the taxation and congressional representation in each state.  Despite the political success that occurred with ratification of the Constitution, the young republic would be plagued by the over-representation of the southern slave power for the next 70 years.  In 1820, the Missouri Compromise allowed for the expansion of slavery south of the 36,30 lines. The slave power struck another victory in 1850 with the political maneuvering of the Great Compromiser himself, Kentucky Senator Henry Clay.


This series of congressional bills he designed put in place the wicked Fugitive Slave Law, subjecting every free black man in the north to prosecution by a kangaroo court on the charge of being a runaway. It also opened up the western territories to slavery on the basis of popular sovereignty.  While many historians agree that these compromises eased sectional tensions and achieved short-term political success, they no doubt allowed for the expansion and legal protection of slavery.


Nevertheless, despite all the political compromise, the issue of slavery eventually reached a point of no return.  A secession crisis resulted, and, despite constant concessions by Northerners to the slave interest in congress and a last ditch attempt to enshrine the protection of slavery into the Constitution, a bloody civil war resulted leaving thousands of young Americans dead.


A compromise that perpetuates a moral wrong should not be made.  Unless President Obama and congressional Democrats offer serious and deep spending cuts to the broken entitlement system, the Republicans should not yield an inch on taxes.  At this point in our nation’s history it is morally wrong to take more of Americans money without seriously addressing the fiscal crisis besting the nation.


That being said, Republicans must be willing to give up the sacred cow of Pentagon spending before even considering compromise with the Democrats.  Instead of making a morally wrong compromise, Boehner should hold the line and insist on legitimate spending cuts.  A compromise on tax rates in the form that is currently being discussed would nevertheless result in the US going over the fiscal cliff—albeit slightly later than currently projected.  The amount of unfunded entitlements alone tops $45 trillion and what the President is currently proposing does virtually nothing to offset this drastic budget shortfall.  While Democrats insist on raising taxes to Clinton levels, they refuse to reduce spending to the same limit.  This would do virtually nothing to remedy the problem and only hinder economic development.  It is high-time Americans and Congressional leader wake up to this fact cease their idol worship at the altar of compromise.


Contributed by: Michael Millican

2 Comments to “The Poison Pill of Political Compromise”

  1. N.Economist says:

    But my calculations show that heading over this fiscal cliff would be detrimental to the global economy just as not expanding the debt ceiling would be detrimental to the US credit rating. Are you recommending that in cases like those that we also not compromise and thus self inflict wounds so grievous that the history of the world would be changed? If not for the people they represent, then what about the people outside of the country that would be destroyed by such wounds. Should they also be sacrificed at the alter of pugnacious whims?

  2. Michael Millican says:

    Ideally we would not be in this situation but this is the political reality. I believe it is a situation of weighing the long term vs. short consequences. Yes, the short term effects of this would be less than ideal which is why the GOP will cave to the President’s “compromise.” However, as I argue in the article, the long term effects of compromise can be disastrous. In this instance we are looking down the gun of $45 trillion in unfunded entitlements which no one has proposed a solution for. If this problem is not drastically solved then our children will be indebted with a possible dollar crisis. Hence the analogy to slavery and the Civil War. The current proposal from the Democrats will fund the government for a maximum of 11 days. It is ridiculous to assert that we have a taxing problem. Indeed, no amount of taxation will solve this mess. The ‘fiscal cliff’ is a direct result of too many short term compromise on spending and entitlements. It’s time we look to the long term and actually solve the problem. That being said, Boehner will still cave.

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