The fiscal cliff: Blame and compromise is no solution

Compromising is not always a goal that we should strive for, especially if it means we must lower both our standards and our morals. Photo: iStockphoto.com/DNY59

WASHINGTON, November 28, 2012 – I recently discovered  Doomsday Preppers, on the National Geographic Channel. It “explores the lives of otherwise ordinary Americans who are preparing for the end of the world as we know it.”

Sure, the show hints that some people may be in the tin-foil-hat club, but in many ways these people trying to prepare for a doomsday—whether it be an economic collapse, a nuclear war, or some other catastrophe—“preparers” pretty much seem like ordinary citizens.

I thought by the time I reached my current age I would be one of those wizened elders with the gray hair. I would patiently listen to the young as they explained in a most animated way what I didn’t get about the historic nature of current cataclysms against which we must immediately take up metaphorical arms.

I imagined the almost imperceptible knowing smile on my face as I waited for the pause when I could confidently reassure my listener how this too shall pass. (I’d be kind of like Yoda, except not so green and short.)

Well, I have achieved the gray hair and added another 40 years and 40 pounds. But, beyond that, I have no smile on my face.

The only thing I see passing is the heart, soul, and faith of America. The good news seems to be that it is not our fault. Whew!

In what should have been a tidal wave election, the GOP leadership busies itself with explaining to us that the Tea Party, pro-life candidates, and anyone else who actually ran on the planks in its own platform are to blame.

The Democrats have lurched so far left that they now have to raise their voices even louder so the rest of us can still hear them blaming Bush and the Republicans as right wing extremists.

Politicians know that it doesn’t matter who is at fault, only where you can place the blame.  Failing that, they turn to compromise, the so-called art of politics.

The fiscal cliff is not the only cliff.

That heavily dented can down the road is now back in play and reporters and pundits tell us 24 hours a day in breathless tones how, unless a deal is struck, we are all doomed. Pontifications and prognostications abound.

They tell us Obama must come around because now he will worry about his legacy. Worry?  Obama just got reelected on his legacy: A country of abortion, debt, religious worship rather than freedom, and government as father and mother. 

We have not passed a budget during the entire Obama administration, yet experts insist both Democrats and Republicans will compromise now because they cannot afford not to make a deal. 

The experts are weirdly right:  the first compromise already floated is to kick the can into the next Congress.  This will give both parties more time to set the stage for blaming the other if no “compromise” is reached.  (Like the old Frank Sinatra song “Love and Marriage,” blame and compromise:  you can’t have one without the other.)

This so-called fiscal cliff is about $100 billion in cuts next year—compared to a $1.1 trillion deficit. We have a debt of $16 trillion, but the actual unfunded liabilities of the federal government that don’t show on the government books—which include Social Security, Medicare, and federal employees’ future retirement benefits—exceed $86.8 trillion. That is 550 percent of the GDP!

That’s $86,800,000,000,000.  Think of it as every single penny of income for every American and every penny of profit from every business for five and one-half years.  Because that’s what it is:  every penny of income or profit your family or your business could generate for 2,000 days just to pay your share. 

We are hyperventilating about a mere gnat, a mere distraction like the Roman games to entertain the masses. This political theatre is a symptom of the true problem for America—the salve of compromise.

That’s how we got to this cliff and the abyss is deep. “Just a little more debt, a little longer,” we say. “Let’s reduce deficits but not talk about debt.” If only this stopped with money but it doesn’t. 

A culture of compromise.

We often hear: “I personally don’t believe in abortion, but women should have a choice.” “Pornography is just adult entertainment.” “It’s OK to be religious but expressing those views may offend someone.”

Ah, yes, a little compromise salve soothes the day—and the conscience.

First there was sex education.  Then comprehensive sex education. First for high school students, then junior high, now 10-year-olds. First free condoms at school, then referrals for free abortions without a parent even knowing. On it goes, day after day, year after year, baby step by baby step.  

Compromise can be as deadly as an infection.  As we compromise ourselves deeper and deeper into a financial and moral morass, I offer this “revelation” to fellow Christians who have been lured into the compromise-is-a-virtue lie: “Because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”

As for me and my house, this sounds like some words to the wise.


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Paul E. Rondeau

Paul E. Rondeau's research and writing on social issures has appeared in law journals, private publications, and  the popular press.  His work has been cited at the U.S. Supreme Court, United Nations and by best-selling authors.  He serves as executive director at American Life League.  He can be contacted at prondeau@all.org.

 

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