There’s a lot of talk up in Washington these days about compromise: President Obama’s ready to compromise and John Boehner’s ready to compromise but, so far, amid all the cooing no one’s laid a deal on the table so it’s hard to tell if Congressmen and Senators are going to say, Gosh, that compromise is swell – or – There’s no way on earth I’ll vote for that.
There’s also a fair amount political rhetoric camouflaging exactly what the politicians are compromising about.
Way back in 1990, when Harvey Gantt was running against Jesse Helms, at a press conference a reporter quizzed Gantt’s campaign chairman Mel Watt (who’s now a Congressman) about Jesse blasting Gantt for supporting tax increases when he was Mayor of Charlotte. Watt shot back, Harvey didn’t support any tax increases, those were revenue increases.
There’re a lot of Republicans (like Speaker Boehner and Senator Graham) who’re now saying they’re open to revenue increases – but then they turn around and add there’s no way on earth they’ll support raising tax rates. That’s a political fig-leaf of sorts – but not much of one. In the end, whether it’s a revenue increase or a rate increase taxes go up.
There may, perhaps, be a new spirit of compromise afoot in Washington – but the old spirit of who-doo is alive and well too.