Kane and Montgomery report that the dynamics of the “fiscal cliff” negotiations shifted when House Speaker John Boehner offered a “Plan B” to increase taxes on American’s making $1 million or more a year, to decrease spending by $1 trillion, to add no new expenses, and to extend the debt limit for one year.
Before Boehner’s new proposition, President Obama had adjusted his original proposal (tax increases on American’s making $250,000 or more) to increase taxes on American’s making $400,000 or more, to decrease spending by $930 billion, to spend $80 billion on infrastructure spending and unemployment assistance and to extend the debt limit for two years.
A graphic included in the report displays the differences between Boehner’s “Plan B” and the President’s current proposal.
Despite the continued rhetoric from both sides (where each side issues accusatory please for the other side to not back away from negotiations on a debt deal), based on these most recent proposals (and the graphic representation linked above), the sides seem to be moving closer together, causing me to hope that a workable, bi-partisan solution is possible.
Both sides have their ideals, and they should hold fast to them because these ideals are what shape their perspectives and actions. However, neither side should think that to compromise on certain points in order to reach a bi-partisan agreement means compromising their ideals.
When a person (or group), especially in politics, gets to the point that they are unable to work with those whose views are different than their own, they become ideologues who are unable to contribute to workable, bi-partisan solutions to the issues of the day.
Idealism is a wonderful thing when it drives a person (or group) to make a positive difference in the world. Yet it can quickly become a negative hindrance to making a positive difference in the world if it produces ideologues who are so blindly committed to their perspective that they cannot (or, at least, will not) compromise on even the most minute detail or in the most insignificant area and causes them to negatively characterize anyone who does not agree with them in every way.
There is a way to be an idealist and a realist at the very same time, and I believe this takes place when we are willing to converse and collaborate with those with whom we disagree to find workable solutions.
As one of the character’s on the NBC show, “Community,” said in one episode, “purity that demands exclusion is not real purity.”
To bring together our idealism and our realsim we must be willing to converse and to compromise, not on the broad ideals that shape our perspectives and actions, but in those areas and in those ways that we are able to bend a little without breaking our commitments in order to work together for the common good of us all.
The full-text of the Kane / Montgomery report can be found here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/fiscal-cliff/obama-boehner-zero-in-on-a-fiscal-cliff-deal/2012/12/18/7ef693aa-491f-11e2-b6f0-e851e741d196_story.html?hpid=z2