The last few days have found me in unfamiliar territory. Normally, I am the first to stand up and demand that we give not an inch to the Democrats. Let them fall on their sword while we fight for liberty. Any losses will be short lived as the public is shown the difference and wakes up to the reality of an overreaching government.
Today, I find myself on less familiar ground with people claiming that I’m now for that dirty word: Compromise.
In the first place, I think compromise would be a very generous word to use to describe what has taken place. In actuality, we took a stand and we stopped the progression of government gluttony. In return, the Democrats got a few token gifts that we will quickly work to take away from them once the next Congress is seated. This is the moment we start moving in the other direction.
Detractors have been asking me, “At what cost?” Certainly we’d have preferred to have the unemployment benefits to have at least been paid for, if not eliminated. There is no doubt that though a 35% death tax is better than a 55% death tax, 0% would have been best of all. Permanence would be better than 2 years and it is of course odd to be partaking in the creation of Obama’s 2012 campaign which will undoubtedly be framed within the context of tax cuts for the “wealthy.”
But government spending was rightfully the least of our concerns. Income taxes going up was nothing less than unacceptable. And not for short term reasons that are often cited such as economic predictability and stability. But for the simple fact that to give the government one more dollar of our national income would have most certainly set the stage for a long lasting expansion of government spending beyond even our current unacceptable levels.
Ronald Reagan nailed this concept in his primary debate with George H.W. Bush in 1980:
…I have to point out that government doesn’t tax to get the money it needs, government always needs the money it gets. Now, your son can be extravagant with his allowance and you can lecture him day after day about saving money and not being extravagant, or you can solve the problem by cutting his allowance.
At the time he was battling the idea that we can’t cut taxes until we’ve cut spending, and was artfully making the case that this will never happen. Today, among conservatives, I am battling the idea that we can’t agree to keep taxes from going up unless we also prevent more spending.
Applied to current events, Reagan’s wisdom stands. We cannot cut off our nose to save our face on this one. We need to hold our ground. We can not allow government to increase it’s percentage of our regular income.
I understand not compromising on principles, in fact it is a core part of who I am. If this was already the 2011 congress, I’d be less movable then I am right now.
But as much as I don’t believe in compromise for compromise sake, I also don’t believe in shooting ourselves in the foot. More importantly I don’t believe in knowingly endangering ourselves to prove a point when the point is already well known and agreed with by most Americans as evidenced on November 2nd.
So when does deal making go from good to bad? My test is this: Are the things we are compromising moving the world farther from us? Or keeping them the same? Are they reversible? Is there a plan to eliminate that which we are currently having to accept?
But most of all, my overriding objective is to prevent taxes from going up. The truth of the matter is, we all have our breaking points on what we are willing to risk. No one would risk allowing Iran to go nuclear because the death tax was part of the negotiation. No one would risk losing the war in Afghanistan because the “deal” involved extending unemployment.
I’m beyond tired of having anyone question my devotion to principled conservatism and an end to mindless moderation and compromise. I am the bloody KING of demanding nothing but fighting tooth and nail. But everyone has their over-riding concern. Reagan’s was taxes. So is mine.
Cross-Posted at Pundit League.