The Road to Hell Is Paved With Compromise

J.D. Thorpe

8/4/2011 10:05:00 AM - J.D. Thorpe
During the entire process of the debt ceiling battle, many politicians, and pundits repeated similar nonsense about democracy working better through compromise. Yet often compromise is the bane of our political system and a major hindrance to our ability to enact good public policy.

After many years of elevating compromise as the highest ideal that all politicians should aspire to, it's time to come to terms with the error of our ways – we are praising a false god.

Under the recent convoluted debt deal, conservatives will receive between $2.1 trillion and $2.4 trillion in cuts over a ten year period in exchange for raising the debt ceiling.

The newly created supercommittee will be tasked with finding between $1.2 and $1.5 trillion of those cuts. If the committee doesn’t reach an agreement, automatic across the board cuts go into effect, which would make significant cuts to defense spending.

And despite many Republicans proclaiming victory about the absence of taxes increases in the deal, it’s already apparent that liberals will use defense cuts as leverage in an attempt to force through tax hikes through the supercommittee.

In the end, the estimated $2.4 trillion in cuts fails miserably at addressing our projected $13.6 trillion in deficits over the same period. And the legislation also ignores entitlement programs which are the true long-term driver of debt.

In fairness to Republicans, they faced a daunting challenging in trying to overcome the entrenched ideologues on the other side.

And sound policy can rarely be the end result when one side is predominantly compromised of crazed liberals who refuse to admit the failures of their Keynesian ideas. One might call these liberals, Keynesian purists.

Under this new term, Paul Krugman can claim his rightful place as patron Saint of the Keynesian purists. On ABC's This Week Krugman claimed "We shouldn't even be talking about spending cuts at all now." But with the U.S. racking up a $1.645 trillion deficit this year, one wonders what deficit level Krugman would regard as too much? Does he believe we should run deficits at $2 trillion, $3 trillion, or perhaps even higher?

Krugman went on to discuss the unemployment rate saying, "With these spending cuts it might well be above 9 percent at this time next year." This dishonest claim is laughable since only $21 billion of the spending cuts go into effect for FY 2012. It’s hard to imagine that this negligible amount of cuts would have any meaningful effect on the labor market.

But it confirms that Krugman has long since abandoned his profession as an economist in favor of the more illustrious position as the lead propagandist for the New York Times. In light of this shift in career direction, Krugman should adopt the new title of Political Hack so no one confuses him with being a real economist.

As his right hand man, Krugman could do worse than former Clinton Labor Secretary, Robert Reich who has been a vocal advocate for more stimulus programs and a new Works Progress Administration (WPA). Like Krugman, Reich's economic plan involves spending more money when our nation is already running the highest deficits in over 60 years.

While many Keynesians like Reich continue to push the idea of increasing road and bridge construction, I’d like to lend a hand and offer a suggestion. With the elimination of NASA’s shuttle program, perhaps they could start building a road to the moon. Imagine how many jobs we could create! The unemployment rate would drop to zero!

Sadly, this type of project isn't a far stretch for many Keynesians.

Nevertheless, the larger point is that we can’t compromise with individuals who don’t dwell in the state if reality. It's time to realize that the Keynesian notions of Krugman, Reich, and other liberals are supported by the twin pillars of lunacy and imbecility.

Compromise was not a solution. The GOP should have continued to fight back – moving past the arbitrary August 2 deadline. Instead, we’re stuck with a deal that maintains our status as the next Greece.

I think Hayek was wrong. Maybe we're not traveling on the road to serfdom. Perhaps we took a wrong turn and ventured onto the road to hell. But at least we are well prepared with plenty of compromise.