The art of compromise
With Republicans and Democrats voting to adopt legislation that avoided the fiscal cliff, the spotlight is on the art of compromise. It is a good omen that extremists on both ends of the political spectrum howled, claiming that their side was given short shrift.
Conservative Republicans bemoaned the lack of spending cuts in the new law, and more Republicans voted against it than for it. “Progressive” Democrats groused about President Obama's decision to raise the cut-off for continued tax relief from those earning $250,000 per year to $400,000, yet most of those critics supported the bill anyway.
But thanks to compromise, taxes will not increase on 98 percent of Americans and 97 percent of businesses. Unemployment benefits will be extended for those who continue to search for work.
And America's status will not be further harmed by politicians acting in an impolitic manner.
When men's fashion switches from wide ties to narrow or abandons paisley print yet again, you can refuse to budge. Dig in your heels and stick with a razor blade instead of switching to disposables or eschew a smartphone and start 2013 with a Filofax.
Compromise is required for the big issues that affect all Americans.
The one lesson here is that taking issues to the brink is a tactical error, since compromise reached early is better for both sides, usually finding more common ground, broader support. Waiting until or beyond the last possible moment for a resolution always puts one party in a tighter spot.
When corporate leaders make a deal, they write books as masters of the art, which is nothing more than a jumble of compromises. That seems to be OK with most folks, even those who decry compromise in government.
But compromise in government is no different — nothing more than reaching agreement on those things that will allow government to move forward.
Each side decides that it is better to get some of what it desires than have the whole proposition fail.
Being compromised, a certain evil, is very different than compromising. Any public official who has taken the oath of office and then caves to someone who demands a second oath restricting his or her voting prerogatives has been compromised. It is selling one's vote in perpetuity in exchange for political support.
“I can accept anything, except what seems to be the easiest for most people: the half-way, the almost, the just-about, the in-between,” says Ayn Rand, who can count among her acolytes Republican Paul Ryan. Still, even Ryan came around and voted for the compromise legislation.
Rand's philosophy is OK if you are a writer or pundit with no need to actually produce results. But try running a government with that approach, and you will surely fail.
Joseph Sabino Mistick, a lawyer, law professor and political analyst, lives in Squirrel Hill. E-mail him at: SabinoMistick@aol.com
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rossi: Rutherford falling apart, too
- Full basketball court to return to White Oak playground
- Liberty asks diocese not to close church
- Cubs’ rookie third baseman Bryant helps send Pirates to defeat
- LaBar: WWE bans finishing move of top star
- Rangers clip Penguins, take 2-1 series lead
- Avonmore man jailed on charges of stealing three cars Sunday
- Mon-Yough authorities investigate heroin, Fentanyl overdoses
- Steelers receiver Brown skipping voluntary offseason workouts
- McKeesport’s Auberle honors its all-stars at banquet
- Question Armstrong County candidates at forum in Manor