Friday, November 23, 2012

Our Happy Prospects of Legislative Compromise

A happy society benefits from a competent government, most especially from a competent legislature.  The legislature, by its nature, will have representatives of conflicting interests.  It will naturally be full of conflicts much more often than it starts with broad agreement on major issues.  Thus, a competent government requires a willingness to compromise and work together for the good of the country.

Lately, our government, especially our legislature, has been polarized by a faction, the Tea Party, that rejects compromise on principle.  Moreover, the federal legislature has been hamstrung by a pledge that many members of one party, the Republican Party, made to never raise taxes, no matter what effect that has on the country.

There are happy signs that the logjam in the legislature is breaking up.  The uncompromising faction lost more than it gained in the recent election.  This frees the establishment of their host party, the Republicans, to make deals in the usual way, to move the government forward.

Recently, there has been another happy trend: many Republican leaders who signed the "never raise taxes" pledge are expressing a willingness to shrug off that straightjacket.

I am very hopeful that the lame duck session, and the new Congress to follow, will be very productive in solving a number of problems facing the federal government.

14 comments:

Frank said...

I think we will probably have to wait four years more because our president wasted his political capital and goodwill on Obamacare...

gruntled said...

Frank, how does Obamacare prevent legislative compromise?

Mac said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mac said...

It is always fun to read this stuff, Professor. It gets my juices flowing. So, to return the favor, I rewrote your little piece from the other side of the looking glass.

A happy society benefits from a competent government, most especially from a competent legislature, one that legislates least. The legislature, by its design, will have representatives of conflicting interests. It will naturally be full of conflicts much more often than it starts with broad agreement on major issues. Thus, a competent government requires a willingness to compromise only when absolutely necessary for the good of the country.

However, the legislature must never lose sight of the will of the electoral majority that put each member in office, lest a dictatorship of the social, political and, yes, academic elites replace a republican form of government.

Lately, our government, especially our legislature, has been polarized by a faction, the Democratic Party, that rejects compromise on principle, and whose leadership in one body--the Senate--refuses to bring up for a vote any legislation passed by the other House(out of fear that its own caucus may follow the will of their constituents, rather than the leadership of their Party).

Moreover, the federal legislature has been hamstrung by a pledge that many members of one party, the Democratic Party, made to insist on raising taxes on that group of taxpayers that already pays nearly one-half of all income taxes, no matter what effect that has on the country or its economy, and its insistence on ignoring the economic woes of the Nation in favor of railroading through a single piece of legislation that a majority of the people do not want.

There are happy signs that the logjam in the legislature is likely to be even stronger. Tired of unfaithful representatives, the voters turned out or replaced retiring members of both houses who were "centrists" with members of principle. Witness the people of Massachusetts who replaced the electorally pragmatic Scott Brown with the dogmatic and unprincipled (Native American? Really, Liz?) Elizabeth Warren. Thus the uncompromising faction gained ground in the recent election. This frees the establishment of their host party, the Democrats, to make deals in the usual way, which will be sure to enrage the other Party and will thus to keep the government from moving forward.

This presents the prospect of another happy trend: a Congress so polarized that the chief danger to the freedom of the people--a legislature that legislates--will be further forestalled.

I am very hopeful that the lame duck session of Congress will do the honorable thing and pass no legislation. In fact, I suggest that the Constitution ought bar post-election sessions of the Congress (in the same manner as the original 2d and now 27th amendment bars congressional pay raises from going into effect until one general election has taken place.)

Oh, yeah. It reads much better now, don't you think?

Mac

Frank said...

The lack of bipartisanship during the Obamacare debate ruined any chance of bipartisanship now. The trust is gone.

gruntled said...

Frank, that was because Sen. McConnell was trying to make Pres. Obama a one-term president. Now that that is behind us, he can release his party to make some deals, starting with the upcoming spending-cuts-and-tax-increases deal.

Frank said...

McConnell's statement you refer to was made after the 2010 midterms.The past shows that tax increases happen but spending cuts don't. We won't be fooled again...

Mac said...

What do you think of the announcements yesterday and today by so many Democrats in Congress that they are ready to dive over the edge of the fiscal cliff if they don't get their way?

earl g. said...

Reagan and Bush I raised taxes and the Dems reneged on the promise to make cuts. Looks like it's about to happen again...

Salazar said...

We no trustee the democrats..

gruntled said...

President Clinton created a surplus.

The president and congressional leaders have proposed cuts to go along with the tax increases.

Negotiated compromises are the essence of politics. That is what competent government does.

earl g. said...

President Clinton is not president.

Geithner and Boehner met today. Boehner was disappointed that Geithner brought no specifics on cuts to the meeting.

We don't have competent government...

KySocialist91 said...

If there is one thing I can't stand about these debates is the idea that Social Security is an "entitlement". American workers pay into that system and it contributes nothing to the debt, thus I am happy the Dems and the White House stood firm against any cuts to it. But I am worried about talk of reform for Medicare, if there is to be any reform it better be in strengthening and expanding it

earl g. said...

Social Security does add to our debt because the feds have used it as a pork barrel.