Archived Story

Budget ideology has changed

Published 9:13am Friday, September 13, 2013

Once upon a time our federal government worked by a process described as compromise.

It was a kind of unique idea for governing, one very unlike what has recently occurred in Iraq and Egypt, where minorities simply work for their own interests at the expense of any other goal.

In Iraq that has made the Kurds outsiders more or less governing themselves and the Sunnis and Shiites locked in political warfare that has led to increased violence in the streets.

In Egypt the extremes of the Islamic Brotherhood made them unable to govern for a more broadly secular nation, but their replacement, the military, has equally little interest in governing by compromise.

Which brings us back to our own government and the current mood of anti-compromise advanced by the most conservative legislators; compromise is a concept worthy of dismissal.

The issues vary with the most current ideological argument being, as always in many ways, Obamacare, the law passed in 2009 to expand health care in America to many uninsured.

While all Republicans tend to hate Obamacare, a number of House Republicans have decided that they are willing to shut down the federal government to de-fund the legislation passed by Congress.

The conservative theory is that if the idea (Obamacare) is wrong, then, in spite of its passage in congress, and in spite of the re-election of a president who fully intended to continue his landmark program, and regardless of an elected Senate majority of Democrats who will never void the law, conservatives should, on principal, refuse to fund the program.

That thinking, opposing the funding of Obamacare when the only possible outcome is a government shutdown, is an ideological argument, where compromise is impossible because to vote otherwise is, to an extent, unethical.

As of this writing about 80 House Republicans have sworn to never vote for a continuing budget resolution, short term or not, that funds Obamacare. Several conservative senators have also indicated their opposition to any budget that funds the Affordable Care Act.

The last time the debt ceiling was used as a blunt political instrument by conservatives and the outcome was the first ever lowering of the U.S. governments’ credit rating.

Now, whether the leverage is to be the debt ceiling again or failing to fund government already determined by Congressional legislation, the outcome will be similar.

We should expect, if ideology trumps compromise in the upcoming budget resolutions, a negative effect on the fragile recovery, possibly another reduction in credit for the government, and a kind of political selfishness not unlike that seen in Iraq and Egypt recently.

We may just have to remember with historical fondness the period of American greatness when compromise built our highways, our airports, our education system, and things like NASA and rural electrification, memories of a better time.

For now at least it appears some will be unwilling to do more than de-construct what once was the most successful form of governing ever devised.


Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.







The Tribune believes it is possible for people with a variety of points of view to discuss issues in a civil manner and will remove comments that, in our opinion, foster incivility. We want to encourage an open exchange of information and ideas. Responsibility for what is posted or contributed to this site is the sole responsibility of each user. By contributing to this website, you agree not to post any defamatory, abusive, harassing, obscene, sexual, threatening or illegal material, or any other material that infringes on the ability of others to enjoy this site, or that infringes on the rights of others. Any user who feels that a contribution to this website is a violation of these terms of use is encouraged to email, or click the "report comment" link that is on all comments. We reserve the right to remove messages that violate these terms of use and we will make every effort to do so — within a reasonable time frame — if we determine that removal is necessary.

  • mikehaney

    Unions have been enthusiastic supporters of the Affordable Care Act before it passed. As of Wednesday, September 11, 2013, AFL-CIO, the largest union, voted on a “strongly worded resolution that says that the Affordable Care Act will drive up costs of union-sponsored health plans to the point that workers and employers are forced to abandon them.” —–Canada free press

    (Report comment)

  • mikehaney

    The reality is that ObamaCare is here to stay. Fourteen laws have already been signed that “amend, rescind, and otherwise change parts of ObamaCare.” The President has delayed his own law five different times. The law is “unfair, unworkable, and unaffordable.” It will eventually cause loss of current health coverage, reduction of full-time work to part-time work, and will allow faceless bureaucrats to control your health care and the denial of services.

    Billionaire Mort Zuckerman said on McLaughlin Group, “Part-time employment is going to grow from 25 percent of the workforce to close to 50 percent of the workforce in part because of the problems of healthcare obligations.”

    ObamaCare is such an unbelievable bureaucratic nightmare. According to, it is 8 times longer than the Gutenberg Bible. Since the unaffordable Affordable Care Act was passed, The Federal Register published 109 final regulations directing how ObamaCare is to be implemented with a total of 10,516 pages. The Gutenberg Bible has 1,286 pages.–Canada free press

    (Report comment)

  • mickakers

    Jim Crawford; Thank you for pointing out the importance of COMPROMISE. We not only learn from history (democracy) per example of ancient Greece and Rome (Wikipedia has an excellent article on the History of Democracy) but repeat it, as demonstrated by our decline in ethics or moral philosophy (concepts of right and wrong). We are following in the footsteps of all great empires and nations, to our discredit.

    (Report comment)

Editor's Picks

Local hip-hop artist to perform at SXSW

Ironton High School Class of 2011 graduate McKinley Carter, who goes by the name of Mac Carter, knew at a young age he wanted to ... Read more