Stanstamper’s Blog

December 6, 2011

The Two Sides of Compromise

Filed under: Uncategorized — stanstamper @ 10:32 pm
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Senior advisor to President Obama, David Plouffe, has sent out an advisory to the media appealing for Congress to act quickly and approve the president’s recommendation to extend the payroll tax credit program that was placed into effect last year.
The result would give the average American worker an extra $1,500 in spendable cash next year, something the president believes will “stimulate the economy.”
I can’t recall ever meeting a Republican who was not in favor of cutting taxes, yet the president’s plan is falling on cold ears.
Ahh, but there is a catch. Republicans point to the mountain of red ink (too much government spending) that threatens to devour our great nation not unlike a hungry wolf devours a rabbit. Repubs say the president’s plan “must be paid for with cuts.”
His response is to the contrary. “We will pay for it by taxing the rich.”
All of this is routine political rhetoric, and at least as of this writing, neither side has submitted a plan that has enough bipartisan support to pass.
But there’s something missing here. Just paying for the tax cut extension isn’t enough. It does not address the multi-trillion dollar (and growing) deficit that seduces our country into the financial abyss.
Were I a member of congress, my proposal would be to extend the tax cuts for a period of not one, but two years, and make them permanent if the economy were in fact rebounding. My proposal for paying for it would be for half of the funds to come from cuts, and half to come from an extremely modest tax increase on the top 1% of American wage earners AVERAGED OVER THE PAST 5 YEARS.
This is very important because any citizen who reaches retirement age and sells a family farm or business, INSTANTLY becomes a member of the 1% club for that year. This individual should not be forced to sacrifice a significant portion of his or her life’s savings, by virtue of having a once-in-a-lifetime sale of family assets.
And so we go forward, giving both sides the opportunity to save face with their political cronies and their respective parties.
Next, let’s approach the completion of a functional budget that will get our country back on track… in the same fashion.
Presently, posturing for political parties and those who fund them, as well as next November’s elections, drives the political train in Washington, D.C.
America deserves better, and the only obvious tool within our means to affect change is at the ballot box.
But we continue to be a divided nation even at the ballot box. Remember Barney Franks’s words last week, as he announced his retirement: “We (Congress) didn’t just parachute into the capital. We were elected.”
And so it is that the ballot box alone will probably take an extended time to allow the electorate to “adjust” Congress.
A quicker and more effective fix involves identifying an ideological champion… someone who has the knowledge and the courage to lay out a sensible plan… and most importantly SELL IT to the American people.
Though that may border on the edge of impossible, it is reality.
Whenever our brightest and sharpest minds come together on neutral ground and put the needs of our nation and its people before all other political gods, we will flourish.
Until then, we will languish.


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