I’ve never been a fan of "bi-partisanship". When someone is out to kill you, or your nation and community, making a deal for the sake of "bi-partisanship" or "compromise" makes no sense when the end result is injustice and a worsening of our lives. But, that’s where we are today because of a completely foolish debate about the phony debt and deficit "crisis" (which is the underlying theme of the debt ceiling nonsense). We have two "sides" fighting over the same ideological assumptions–and that is pathetic. Let’s consider a few examples.
When Social Security has been one of the greatest program in our nation’s history and is entirely solvent for the next several decades if we didn’t do a thing, what, then, is the reason to embrace "compromise" and "bi-partisanship" which leads to a worse life for seniors? Dean Baker points out, in referring to the Gang of Six proposal (I had hoped that gang was long dead):
The proposed cuts to Social Security are cumulative. This means that after ten years, a beneficiary in her 70s will see a cut of close to 3 percent. After 20 years, the cuts for beneficiaries in their 80s will be close to 6 percent, while the reduction in annual benefits will be close to 9 percent by the time beneficiaries are in their 90s. For a beneficiary in her 90s living on a Social Security income of $15,000, this means a loss of more $1,200 a year in benefits.[emphasis added]
Explain why "compromise" or "bi-partisanship" makes any sense if it includes–I can barely get this out without swearing–lower taxes for business, even though there is NO SERIOUS economic proof that that will mean squat for creating jobs for workers. None. Zero.
The U.S.-based business "community" ("based" because these folks don’t care a bit whether they fly an American flag or not), if you want to call it that, is one of the least taxed in the industrialized world, is sitting on a trillion dollars in cash, profits are up, CEO pay has climbed 23 percent, most of them do not pay much in the way of taxes anyway and, by the way, this "community" still has the gall to demand a tax "holiday" for profits stashed overseas (not because it has anything to do with "fairness" but simply because corps carry enough sway and can buy Congress).
And on taxes. Oh my god. This is a travesty: The "bi-partisanship" extends to a unanimous position on extending at least part of the Bush tax cuts–which, if ended, would basically make deficits a thing of the past.
In our narrow world, “bi-partisan” means having Democrats and Republicans sitting together in the same room and talking to each other But, if the meaning of “bi-partisan” is, as most normal people would think, having representatives of differing views of a debate or contrasting sides of an argument, then, this isn’t “bi-partisan”.
What we really have in the current call for "bi-partisanship" and "compromise" is two sides fighting on the same side of the coin. Sure, there is a difference in scale–and a significant difference of money, in some cases. But, ideologically, the "debate" (if you can call it that) is between, on the one hand, really nutty people who never let the facts get in the way of their mouth versus people who are sane but have bought the basic ideological framing of the debt and deficit "crisis".
I am waiting for just one person who will say: wait, hello, friends…we will never fix this country if we don’t sit here and admit that the real crisis is that we, political leaders, do not want to admit that our basic belief in the “free market” has proven, just on the facts, to be a total failure—if the idea of our society and economy is to make sure that people can share in the prosperity of the country. The “free market” has failed. Failed. Failed.
That leader would, then, be the other side of the debate and, at that point, I’d welcome a call for "bi-partisanship" and "compromise" with the other side of the coin.