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The Conservative Case Against Compromise

| November 24, 2012

Republicans are looking for a few good fortresses. (Alfred Bina)

By Lloyd Brown

Two friends, one a Democrat and one a conservative, have told me recently that Republicans in Congress need to compromise so the government can “get things done.”

One of them actually said it is better to do something than nothing.

No. It is not.

Doing the wrong thing can be much worse than doing nothing.

Lloyd Brown

florida voices columnists flaglerlive

This is especially true when you are talking about trying to influence the nation’s economy.

Contrary to popular liberal belief, politicians do not “run the economy.” Decisions made daily by millions of Americans, each pursuing his own best interests, determine the course of the economy.

However, politicians are quick to take credit when the economy is doing well and expert at dodging and blaming free enterprise when it goes bad.

The economy goes up and down with or without politicians meddling, much like the average temperature on the Earth fluctuates.

More often than not, when government acts to help, the action is either too late or harmful.

Generally, liberals want to spend more of other people’s money, a course of action that they fantasize will help the economy, while conservatives want to spend less.

Compromise is only an option when both sides are going in the same direction and the question is how far to go. If you want to drive 500 miles in one day on your vacation and your wife wants to drive 300 miles, you drive 400. Or, in my house, 300. That’s compromise.

But if two people are in a car at an intersection and one wants to turn left but the other wants to go right, what is the compromise?

I don’t recall liberals being interested in compromise from 2000-2006, when they were working day and night to derail President George W. Bush’s plans.

After liberals gained control of Congress in 2006, the economy began turning south. They had virtually complete control of the government after 2008 and didn’t need any compromising. Yet, they didn’t fix anything.

If they couldn’t fix it by themselves, why do they need conservatives to help them?

You know the answer: So they can share the blame when things go wrong.

America’s voters apparently have chosen to live in a welfare state. But the majority still cannot tyrannize a minority – at least as long as the Constitution is in effect.

Therefore, conservatives in Congress have a duty to represent their minority constituents and oppose bad policy.

The nation is $16 trillion in debt. The government does not even take in enough money to pay for interest on that debt and entitlements. It must borrow the money it spends for everything else – from the most banal bureaucracy to the Department of Defense. National defense is the government’s primary role and it is fulfilling that role with money it borrows from other nations, including potential enemies such as China.

That is considered bad policy by the millions of Americans who voted for responsible government.

Things are bad, but they can get worse.

Sometimes, gridlock is good.

Lloyd Brown was in the newspaper business nearly 50 years, beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor of the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville. He can be reached by email here.

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12 Responses for “The Conservative Case Against Compromise”

  1. Fred Franklin says:

    It’s about time we see a conservative view in this liberal news website.

  2. AMAZED says:

    What the…. Flagler Live put up an article that makes since!!!???

  3. motor says:

    Look at it this way Lloyd.

    You have a disease. You go to the Doctor and he prescribes treatment. You are suspicious of the treatment so you get a second opinion from another Doctor. The second Doctor’s treatment is different than the first Doctor’s. You decide that at best, only one Doctor’s treatment can be right or the may both be wrong so you do nothing. Two weeks later, you die. Gridlock can be deadly!

  4. DWFerg says:

    Refreshing article….

  5. Sea dog says:

    One percent of americans now control 42 percent of Americas wealth, where the republicans are takeing us I cant go under any circumstance. The reason for so much debt is Bushs tax cuts, two wars, and a bail out from the Republican trickle down philosophy.

  6. elaygee says:

    Good to hear from the “Drive the Country off the Cliff” party from their own lips that they will destroy us all rather than compromise. Helps us know who to hold responsible for the debacle that will follow.

  7. FlaglerLive says:

    We’d love to run more conservative viewpoints, but these days the conservative viewpoint is too often indistinguishable from faith-based sermons from an exoplanet. We don’t do theology masked as political commentary.

  8. Sea dog says:

    In America today we have the most unequal distribution of wealth and income of any major country on earth. The top 1 percent owns 42 percent of the nation’s wealth, while the bottom 60 percent owns 2.3 percent. In the last study done on income distribution, we learned that 93 percent of all new income generated between 2009 and 2010 went to the top 1 percent, while the bottom 99 percent split the remaining 7 percent. This extraordinary unfairness is not only morally reprehensible, it is bad economics. It will be very difficult to create the jobs that our people need when so many Americans have little or no money to spend.

  9. Anita says:

    My first issue with your reasoning, Sir:

    “Compromise is only an option when both sides are going in the same direction and the question is how far to go.” – Mr. Brown.

    By definition, COMPROMISE is ” a settlement of differences by mutual concessions; an agreement reached by adjustment of conflicting or opposing claims, principles, etc., by reciprocal modification of demands.”

    Unwilling to give an inch, conservatives seem to have tremendous difficulty coping with the concept of true compromise. Simply put, when two sides approach a problem from different views, compromise is the ability to adjust each perspective until a workable agreement is reached. Compromise must be an option or all you’re left with is STALEmate, as evidenced by the past four years of dismal government performance. Or war.

    My second problem with the conservative view is the notion that liberals do not pay taxes, implied in the statement that ,”liberals want to spend more of other people’s money.” It seems to me that conservatives want to spend anybody’s money BUT theirs, as exemplified by the obscenely low tax brackets they enjoy.

    Liberals DO pay taxes, work hard and earn the money we pay in taxes the old fashioned way, too. It would be refreshing having liberal taxpayer’s financial contributions to the running of this country as routinely acknowledged as that of the conservative taxpayer.

    But just so we’re clear, I hate funding your unnecessary wars; your subsidies to bloated oil companies; your tax loopholes for billionaires, and all of the 1% who are happily sucking at the public teat while kids go to bed hungry, and families lose their homes.

    You’ll just have to excuse this Liberal who prefers that her taxes help the most vulnerable among us and if it takes a responsible Federal government to make sure of it, then so be it.

  10. Lonewolf says:

    I don’t recall liberals being interested in compromise from 2000-2006, when they were working day and night to derail President George W. Bush’s plans.

    What “plans” did they derail? The phony war for oil that last 8 YEARS? Huge tax cuts that were mostly for the rich?

  11. Old Harley dude says:

    I bet 4 years from now it will still be Bush’s fault.

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