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April 18, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

Common sense calls for compromise

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Twenty years ago, a lobbyist named Grover Norquist got Republicans to sign a no-tax-increase pledge. It included no compromise of any kind when it came to raising taxes. The GOP has stayed true to the pledge for the past 20 years. Finally, there are rumblings within the GOP that might lead to some sort of compromise over taxes.

Last weekend, Republican Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Lindsay Graham said it is time to put country first. Wow, how’s that for a revolutionary thought? Any pledge or idea that leaves no wiggle room is a bad idea. Our country was founded on compromise.

The Democrats have to be willing to give ground on some of their programs and ideas to make it work. Compromise means both sides coming together to do what is best for all.

It is time for our congressmen to worry less about re-election and more about the country as a whole.

Sorry, Grover, but you have had your way far too long. It is time for common sense and the common good to prevail.

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  1. Robert Blanner says 'It is time for our congressmen to worry less about re-election and more about the country as a whole.'

    That cannot and will not happen on either side until we have term limits, public financing of campaigns and lobbying reform. Congress is corrupted by the money, the influence peddling (lobbying) and the longevity of time in office of members of Congress.

    Robert Blanner says 'The Democrats have to be willing to give ground on some of their programs and ideas to make it work. Compromise means both sides coming together to do what is best for all.'

    Calling a 1.5 trillion dollar reduction in the rate of government growth over 10 years a 'cut' in spending is NOT compromise, it is a shell game. We have got to stop calling a slowing of the growth of government spending from 100 mph to 90 mph, a 'cut'. It isn't.

    On the Conservative and Republican side, it is time to support a single payer government run health care system. The private system we have, largely controlled by insurance companies and well heeled pharmaceutical and health care companies is too expensive for the country to afford and is the BIGGEST driver of our deficits and debt.

    REAL compromise would include the recognition that our private health care system is unaffordable and is bankrupting the country and that if we continue to call a reduction is the rate of government spending growth a 'cut' in spending, our government spending will drive us directly into bankruptcy.


  2. This country was founded on priciples and pledges: Like allegiance to the flag and oaths of office. Norquist doesn't get it. He, and others like him, who think a signature on a piece of worthless paper 10-20 years ago is binding are absurd. Grover was a temporary attraction. Principles are forever.


  3. Yeah, let's "compromise" is the call when Dumbocrats are in the majority. When it's Conservatives, not so much. Then it's filibusters "full-steam-ahead." "Compromise" or "bipartisanship" is a one-way street with the fellow travelers. I say, if they truly want "compromise" or "bipartisanship," they ought to prove it by taking the first steps and cave like they want Conservatives to do. From my perspective, leftist is merely another name for liar and you better not trust a liar!

  4. An elected Official pledge is to the Oath of Office, to the people who elected the official. Not to a self appointed, self-serving activist who threaten candidates during elections using money from unknown sources to run misleading TV and Radio ad against Republican candidates who do not sign his pledge.

    I say, elected official who are protecting the Grover Norquist pledge,.. putting Grover Norquist first before the people that elected you, should be removed from office either by recall or by being voted out of office during a regular election cycle.

  5. If the whining that goes on here @ the Sun's comment section is any indication...

    The 'right' has absolutely NO desire for 'compromise' or 'common goals' or 'shared sacrifice'; it's ALL ABOUT 'THEM'.

    'I, ME, MINE!'

    If you ask them to contribute a nickel where others are giving a dime, you are told, 'NO! MY Nickel! MINE! I earned it ALL BY MYSELF!
    (In a VACUUM, obviously).'

    If Warren Buffet advocates for higher taxes on the wealthiest among us, they cry...'Go ahead, Warren! Nothing is STOPPING YOU from paying more; just cut the Government a CHECK! That's okay for YOU! Don't include ME in your plan! I'M not PAYING! It's MY Nickel; MINE!'

    Do you 'hear' what I 'hear'? I hear children who never learned that 'compromise' & 'share' is a prerequisite to 'getting along'...(I 'hear' SELFISH!!!)

    Now, Grover comes out of his closet to tell his 'bought & paid for' politicians that, 'a PROMISE is FOREVER!' As though he OWNS THESE PEOPLE; like a freaking Mafia DON, for crying out loud...

    Whilst the wealthiest Americans have gotten fat on the hog at a time that 'the rest of us' have lost so much while 'contributing' to what we're told is 'the common good', those in the 'upper strata' continue to bark, 'NOPE! MINE! AAALLL MINE! NOT ONE NICKEL!'

    Yep; the whiff of compromise is definitely in the air!

  6. As a foreigner from Canada, whatever Congress decides to do will likely have little or no effect on my daily life.
    What strikes me as bizarre is the almost total lack of specifics as to what a balanced budget would entail. The Simpson-Bowles report is the only roadmap I've seen so far, and your politicians have almost unanimously decided to ignore that commission's report, opting instead to attempt to spare their favorite constituents any pain whatsoever.
    I truly believe that compromise, as advocated by this letter writer, could work to create a balanced budget which most segments of society could endorse. It would have to carefully weigh how much every group in America must sacrifice, and if done fairly, would reassure Americans that fiscal responsibility is possible, despite a short term recession.
    When they put their mind to it, America's politicians are probably the most creative and brilliant in the world. I believe that now is the time for them to put aside their self-interest regarding re-election and lobbyists, and design a prudent fiscal plan that gets the USA back on track financially quickly and fairly.

    Donald Desaulniers (FromBellevilleCanada)

  7. Donald,

    The problem with Mr. Blanner is the same one too many on both sides have. Their idea of compromise is for the other side to capitulate.

    Conservatives need to be willing to raise taxes. We've already spent the money (16 trillion dollars) and we need to start paying for it... all of us.

    Progressives need to be willing to actually reduce what the government spends... not just agree to grow spending slower ... and call it a cut.

    Mr. Blanner wants Conservatives to capitulate and have it called compromise. Others who write here often, want Progressives to capitulate and have it called compromise.

    Compromise is where both sides give. We simply don't have that anymore... and that is the problem. Events will force actions soon, but we'd have been so much better off if we'd acted and compromised sooner.


  8. The Obama mandate as he sees it to increase tax rates on those earning over $250 K would supply only enough in revenues to opereate the fed government for 8 days, yet this has become Obama's clarion call for resolving the debt crisis. How insane can one get!!?

  9. WRT compromise and pledges: In two recent cases in history, Republican Presidents were snookered by the Dems in Congress. First Reagan who agreed to tax hikes based on pledges from Dems of $3 to $1 cuts to tax increases. We got the taxes, not the spending cuts. Again in the 90's, George H. W. Bush, [aka: read my lips, no new taxes] agreed to spending cuts and tax increases of $2 to $1. We got the taxes, not the cuts.

    3 strikes and the GOP are out.


  10. Jeff,

    It all sounds so simple when you say it, but it isn't. I agree that R's need to agree to retain the lower Bush rates for those under $ 250,000, but neither side seems willing to budge on a possible combination of somewhat higher rates and a cap on deductions for the wealthy.

    Many Democrats will not sign onto any changes in SS, including raising the contribution cap, extending retirement age, etc.

    You didn't mention Medicare, which is the biggest cost driver of them all and neither side has a decent plan for that. Single payer government run system... anyone?

    The ACA is a big mess and badly needs revision. I don't see either side racing to do that.

    Food stamps? We just need to get more people working and off food stamps.


  11. Jeff,

    EVERYBODY needs to stop buying into the talking points of both D's and R's. This isn't a one sided problem. R's don't want to raise taxes, but we need to raise taxes. D's don't want to cut spending and address SS and Medicare but we need to do both.


  12. Michael says,

    "The ACA is a big mess and badly needs revision. I don't see either side racing to do that."

    Michael, educate the readers on what you mean by saying "Big Mess." Please, do not be lukewarm. Don't straddle the middle. Make it clear in detail to items in the ACA you refer to being a "Big Mess."

  13. Jeff,

    The ACA is a hybrid between a complete government controlled health care system and a partially free market system (like we have now). If we are going to change the system we have in a fundamental way, as the ACA does, we need to go to a single payer government controlled system.

    The ACA attempts to compel those (approximately 30 million uninsured people) to buy health care insurance at reduced prices or face a fine.

    Without raising taxes substantially on those that already have health care insurance, the money to pay for the expansion in coverage isn't there.

    The ACA attempts to get some of that money from Medicare but that will cause lower payments for Medicare patients to doctors and that will cause fewer doctors to accept Medicare patients.

    The ACA needed to include the right for the government to negotiate drug prices but it doesn't so drug prices will stay high.

    The ACA pushes for a large expansion of Medicaid, which will push costs off onto states that are ill prepared to cover those costs, which is a big part of the problem.

    The ACA claims to be able to control costs but it can't (in this hybrid system) and the result will be continued high costs and reduced care.

    Something needed and needs to be done about health care in this country, but the ACA is poorly crafted legislation.


  14. Michael,

    I always enjoy reading your responses. You now understand when referring to the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, the bill is difficult to pin down details on being pro or con.

    You didn't make the case in defining what you meant by "Big Mess."

    The best way to approach the ACA is to identify the items in ACA, related by the item number. Then going point by point showing why you disagree.

  15. No, Longtimevegan, I don't need to do that. You siad yourself that the bill is difficult to pin down. There is a reason for that. Even at 2000 pages, much of the details and regulations were not addressed in the bill. Those are being cobbled together now.

    Look, I'm not one to blame the ACA legislation all on President Obama and the D's. This legislation was heavily lobbied by big pharma, the health care lobbies and the insurance lobbies and fought by the R's. The consequence of all that was poor legislation.

    R's are keen to place all the blame on Obama and the D's. The D's are going to defend the ACA, even when the defense sounds bogus, because the legislation is theirs.

    That's just the way it is.


  16. Compromise is fine but we've done too much of that already. We must CUT taxes and cut spending so our economy can revive. We cannot give it all away to everyone who wants what we have--whether they be illegal immigrants or the peoples of foreign nations. We must get back to basics. The FIRST requirement of national defense is to SECURE our nation from invasion. The second would be to locate and remove the insurgents in our midst, economic insurgents who have their own agendas that are diametrically opposed to our economic survival.

  17. I consider any official elected to serve the people to be a traitor if they sign a pledge to a lobbyist, especially Grover Norquist.

    In doing so, they are not representing the People of this nation. They are representing a lobbyist dictator.

  18. Guest Who's Coming To Lunch?

    Mitt Romney is meeting with President Obama at the White House November 29, 2012 by an invitation from the President. This is what the President said he would do in his acceptance speech on election night November 6, 2012.

    Expect Mitt Romney to come out after the meeting and vaguely say we need revenues and spending cuts to avoid the scary Fiscal Cliff. In reality, going pass December 31, 2012 without an agreement will not immeditely place the country in peril. However, if no agreement is in place by mid January 2013, there will be problems. To be safe, there needs to be an agreement in place before the first paychecks are cut in 21013.

    If your an extreme Republican, you would want the year to end without an agreement. Then, in 2013, you immediately vote to reduce taxes for 98% of Americans. This is the best position for an "extreme" Republican to take. They won't break their pledge to Grover Norquist, at the same time they are voting to reduce taxes for 98% Americans. They later can negotiate a reduction for 2% percent of the wealthy Americans.

    Now, is this something the majority of Americans voted for on November 6, 2012? No, they did not! But this is what we can expect from the extreme House Republicans who will not change position to help the country. The country is veiwed as a political tool to the extreme House Republicans.

  19. Jeff: "like" has nothing to do with it. Ditto weak arguments of racism. A nation, to survive, must protect its structure and borders. Illegals can self deport. We can expel those who cannot or do not show that they entered legally. Those who HAD visas can be deported. Things we must do to allow our economy to recover. Sure deportation is expensive but not nearly as expensive as allowing an illegal to stay here and destroy our cultures, steal our jobs, drain our government programs from K-12 to free housing.... Simple math: we cannot afford to give away everything to those who want what we have. We already take a million LEGAL immigrants each year, plus the anchor babies of parents hear illegally. We give those anchor babies and their families cradle to grave social welfare. How CAN ANY economy survive such strong demands on it without comparable growth in PRODUCTIVE employment. And that has NOTHING to do with GDP growth. Our past inaction was voluntarily reducing our standard of living--and reductions will continue until we turn the tide.

  20. Compromise, yes. Payoffs or bribes, no.

    One of the greatest compromises in political history has to be our Congress, composed of a Senate with two representatives from each state, and the House with representation based on population. Even the "3/5 rule", as repugnant as it is to us today, was a legitimate compromise.

    On the other hand, in connection with the ACA (Obamacare) the proposed "Louisiana Purchase" and "Cornhusker Kickback" were nothing but attempts at bribery, not compromise, to secure the votes needed for a bill.

    There is a fine, but definite line between compromise and dirty, under-handed back-room deals. We can hope (but not expect) our Congress knows the difference this time.

  21. LTV:

    We have a lame duck Congress that can't bind the new Congress in Jan 2013. That is reason enough, with no politics involved, to let the new Congress and President resolve the grand bargain.


  22. Carmine,

    Your right about having a lame-duck congress. No one is expecting the 2012 congress to change positions to help the country. Especially the Republican House members who lost on November 6, 2012.

    The reality, do not expect an agreement at the end of the year, December 31, 2012. Expect an agreement after December 31, 2012. The new congress (2013) will get the deal done, saving many Republicans who signed the Grover Norquist pledge.

    This is how the extreme House Republicans have acted in regards to raising taxes and cutting spending. All extreme positions. Why, why would they change position now? All indications point to a "NO" deal this year, 2012.

  23. LTV:

    If you have been reading my posts you know I said don't expect the same old people to solve the same old problems in the same old way. They failed before. The American voters gave the NEW CONGRESS and the President another chance. The impetus is and should be on the new Congress and President to do so. It's really on their watch and their reponsibility. My guess is we go over the cliff, so to speak, on January 1, 2013, and the new Congress kicks the can down the road until March 2013 when the the debt ceiling is estimated to be hit or even later in the year. The cliff is symbolic. Congress, with the President's approval, and we know he said during the debates that it won't happen [going over the fiscal cliff], to retroactively make the coutry and people whole.


  24. I am all for a single payer universal healthcare system that involves cost control, but also establishes quality of care guidelines.

    That means that recognizing efficient ways of doing things that doesn't reduce quality of care. It can in fact increase it when done properly as demonstrated by some models today.

    Change Me to We!

    The healthcare industry has been the equivalent of the federal contractors who charged $100 for a toilet seat, except it would now be $400. It needs to have a house cleaning. The corporate takeover of healthcare has been terrible for healthcare. It will surely run up the tab for big profits, and if they succeed in getting rid of Medicare and Medicaid, you can anticipate quality to decrease, cost increases, and private insurance benefits decrease. I guarantee it!

    The only solution is a single payer universal healthcare system.

    The healthcare industry may complain, scare, threaten, but they have nowhere else to go. The US is the last bastion of high profitability private healthcare.

    We could return to a healthcare system that cares about patients, rather than meeting corporate productivity and profit goals.

    There is something else that bothers me.

    We have been hearing about how increasing the tax rate on the top two brackets is related to the "job creators", who won't be able to create jobs if they are taxed at higher rates.

    Let's look at this in a different way.

    For the last 35+ years there has been stagnant wage growth, while profits soared, which has resulted in loss of tax revenue.

    Why a loss when profits soared? Because there are many ways in which businesses can shelter their profits and pay less taxes.

    Additionally, capital gains and dividends have a very low tax rate.

    With wage stagnation, more people are moving down the ladder from middle class to lower middle class or poverty levels.

    We have a problem of sustainability because of the problem related to wage stagnation, decreased relative taxes revenues, and tax shelters.

    It seems that the proposed tax increase on the "job creators" could be a result of not keeping wage growth in proportion to profit growth.

    Maybe the tax rate increases could be seen as an incentive for the "job creators" to stimulate wage growth, with the potential for a decrease when the wage growth has been demonstrated to be consistent in relation to profit growth, and more revenue generated from wage growth.

    Perhaps there could be an automatic tax decrease or increase depending on the proportion of wage growth to profit growth.

    With that perspective, perhaps we should increase the tax rate even more. There is alot of ground to make up. There also needs to be a step down closure of the tax shelters, especially for outsourcing and offshoring businesses, and incentives for those who create more jobs here with wage growth in proportion to profits.