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Democracy Requires Compromise

August 2, 2011

Wonderful post yesterday by Scott Berkun, “The unavoidable power of compromise“.

It starts with the statement:

Anyone who makes progress in this world makes compromises.

Just one moment of reflection shows this is true for more than just government, but even for any dealing with other humans, and even for concrete ventures like all types of engineering and development.

On the political stage, this reflects what I have been pointing out to friends when they complain about Scott Brown voting in favor of various bills.  I both mention that he represents the VERY liberal Massachusetts (he represents all of Massachusetts) AND I point out that to “move the ball” any distance, requires compromises.

Yes, the Tea Party did not get all the spending cuts they wanted, but neither did the ruling party get all the spending increases (and tax increases) they wanted.
On the whole, I see that our slide towards the fiscal situation of Greece as slowed.  Now, let’s just hope that we can “bend the curve” with continued compromises so our debt levels return to something rational (or even zero!).

I don’t think I’m being a Pollyanna, after all, Canada had what they thought was a crushing debt load of almost 70% GDP back in the mid 90’s (ref), but they had successfully trimmed the debt load down to the current 30% region.

And all this goes back to why do we care about the debt burden…  Well, beyond being the frugal person, who does not like being in debt, a low debt burden gives a country some “elbow room”.  By this I mean, a country can have more flexibility in responding to situations, whether domestic government services or international demands without being driven into bankruptcy (well, inflation – essentially the same thing).

Of course, all this needs to happen without taxing the working man into poverty, or into the underground economy.  But, that is a topic for another day…

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