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At What Point Does Compromise End?

Let’s imagine, that we have two arbitrary points on a line.  You’re standing on one of them.

Let’s further imagine, that you move half way to the other point.

Then, you move halfway to the other point.

Then, you move halfway to the other point.

Then, you move halfway to the other point.

Then, you move halfway to the other point.

And so on.

While you never get to the other point, you are always moving closer to the other point. So close in fact, that eventually, you are so close to the other point that it’s hard to distinguish that you’re not there. You’ll never reach that point, of course, but in practical terms, you’re there, eventually.

Let’s imagine, now, that the point you were standing on when this exercise started, is the group of assumptions, and values that our country was founded on… values enshrined in the constitution, and in the other documents of the day…  these are the things our founders believed, and fought and died for. … The founders were if nothing else, individualists, and thought government an evil. A necessary one, but an evil none the less.

Now, let’s imagine that at the opposite point, you have a group of people interested in moving us away from the values of those founders. Who, among other things,  believe that government should be involved in our lives always, and that all the really important decisions about our lives and how we interact with one another is rightfully the place of a huge central government.

If we compromise with such people, (just so we can get things done, you understand… go along to get along type things)  we move halfway toward the point of view of those who want to move us away from the vales our country was founded on. At every opportunity, we’re preached at by those people… and sometimes by those claiming to value the founders and their vision, about the value of “Compromise”. And so we as conservatives are forced by this narrative, into meeting the left halfway.

Now, let’s stretch this out over a period of years… decades, in fact… from the time of, say, Woodrow Wilson, to now.

We have had many subjects come to the fore and each time forced to compromise. And each time, the distance between us and what the had left wants, is halved. Eventually, it gets to a point where your position is indistinguishable from that of the hard left. An example would be Mitt Romney offering a government run healthcare system… a thing so close to what the socialist left wants that Obama, in creating Obamacare had to credit Romeny for huge parts of Obama’s plan.

I hear you saying.. “But wait… don’t they have to come halfway too?” You would think so in a fair wold… but since when has the world… or the left… ever been fair? More specifically, when has the left ever compromised?  At least, without a proverbial gun to their heads, such as during Reagan?

Example: We’re embroiled just now in a debate about the value of spending cuts.  THe left, led by Obama, has staked out their position quite clearly… no spending cuts can be tolerated.  So firmly rooted are the left on this point, that they’re coming up with all kinds of demonstrable lies to support not having the cuts… which are in fact not cuts at all… simply a smaller rate of increase than was planned. Observe the chart:

And how do we know they’re lying to us? Consider the words of one White House insider, courtesy of Dr. Charles Krauthammer: [1]

“The worst-case scenario for us,” a leading anti-budget-cuts lobbyist told The Post [2], “is the sequester hits and nothing bad really happens.”

As the Doctor suggests,

Think about that. Worst case? That a government drowning in debt [3] should cut back by 2.2?percent — and the country survives. That a government now borrowing 35?cents of every dollar it spends reduces that borrowing by two cents “and nothing bad really happens.” Oh, the humanity!

A normal citizen might think this a good thing. For reactionary liberalism, however, whatever sum our ever-inflating government happens to spend today (now double what Bill Clinton spent in his last year) is the Platonic ideal — the reduction of which, however minuscule, is a national calamity.

Or damn well should be. Otherwise, people might get the idea that we can shrink government and live on.

Hence the president’s message. [4] If the “sequestration” — automatic spending cuts [5] — goes into effect, the skies will fall. Plane travel jeopardized, carrier groups beached, teachers furloughed. And a shortage of junk-touching TSA agents.

The Obama administration has every incentive to make the sky fall, lest we suffer that terrible calamity — cuts the nation survives. Are they threatening to pare back consultants, conferences, travel and other nonessential fluff? Hardly. It shall be air-traffic control. Meat inspection. Weather forecasting.

A 2011 Government Accountability Office [6] report gave a sampling of the vastness of what could be cut, consolidated and rationalized in Washington: 44 overlapping job training programs, 18 for nutrition assistance, 82 (!) on teacher quality, 56 dealing with financial literacy, more than 20 for homelessness, etc. Total annual cost: $100 billion-$200 billion, about two to five times the entire domestic sequester.

Are these on the chopping block? No sir. It’s firemen first. That’s the phrase coined in 1976 by legendary Washington Monthly editor Charlie Peters to describe the way government functionaries beat back budget cuts. Dare suggest a nick in the city budget, and the mayor immediately shuts down the firehouse. The DMV back office, stacked with nepotistic incompetents, remains intact. Shrink it and no one would notice. Sell the firetruck — the people scream and the city council falls silent about any future cuts.

After all, the sequester is just one-half of 1 percent of GDP. It amounts to 1.4?cents on the dollar of nondefense spending, 2 cents overall.

Because of this year’s payroll tax increase [7], millions of American workers have had to tighten their belts by precisely 2?percent. They found a way. Washington, spending $3.8?trillion, cannot? If so, we might as well declare bankruptcy now and save the attorneys’ fees.

The problem with sequestration, of course, is that the cuts are across the board [8] and do not allow money to move between accounts. It’s dumb because it doesn’t discriminate.

Fine. Then change the law. That’s why we have a Congress. Discriminate. Prioritize. That’s why we have budgets. Except that the Democratic Senate hasn’t passed one [9] in four years. And the White House, which proposed the sequester [10] in the first place, had 18?months to establish rational priorities among accounts — and did nothing.

When the GOP House passed an alternative that cut where the real money is — entitlement spending — President Obama threatened a veto. Meaning, he would have insisted that the sequester go into effect — the very same sequester he now tells us will bring on Armageddon.

Good grief. The entire sequester would have reduced last year’s deficit from $1.33?trillion to $1.24?trillion. A fraction of a fraction. Nonetheless, insists Obama, such a cut is intolerable. It has to be “balanced” — i.e., largely replaced — by yet more taxes.

Which demonstrates that, for Obama, this is not about deficit reduction, which interests him not at all. The purpose is purely political: to complete his Election Day victory by breaking the Republican opposition.

Whatever else the position the Democrats are taking is, it cannot be considered compromising in the least. No meeting the Constitutionalists half way.

Now, eventually, as you edge closer and closer to the position being held by the opposition,  the point comes when you begin to recognize that compromise is unacceptable. As we are now starting to see on such matters as “Gun Control” all of which runs directly afoul of the second amendment.

We as Americans are being faced with many such dilemmas just now…. where any compromise ends America as we know it.

Problem is….We’ve gotten so used to caving in on matters of principle, that it’s much harder now to stand on them then it used to be.

But stand we must. Compromise at some point must end, lest the country as the founders established it, is no more.