All that said in the previous blog is true. At the same time, I felt a trap in today’s On Being. Krista Tippett’s guests were Alice Rivkin, former Clinton Budget Director, and Republican Senator Pete Domenici.
What I most fear and dislike when liberals and conservatives start to talk is that liberals are more open, and can often be persuaded to start from the conservative’s point of view when building a compromise. Rather than starting in the middle.
That’s what has happened with the show just ending. Because of deficit fear and looming (years from now) potential shortfalls with social security, medicaid and medicare, the entire country has been riled up and nearly in terror. Indeed, around the world (see – the Euro Zone).
I come at this from the side of Paul Krugman, Keynesian Nobel economist. The government can jumpstart infrastructure jobs, support medical and other research and invest in education – then voila! Unemployed people suddenly have paychecks, they are paying taxes, the wheels of commerce and industry begin to turn. For me, the way out of the deficit is jobs – more taxes coming in, the deficit goes down.
The problem that happened on On Being tonite is that Alice Rivkin, talking with a reasonable male Republican, started from his point of view, and clearly wanted to demonstrate that the two of them could reach agreement. To me, all the compromise was on her side.
There are easier fixes to each of these problems, and especially, medicaid and medicare will become more coherent as Obamacare comes into play. So drastic measures are not indicated when the problems are 15 to 20 years into the future.
And for liberals and progressives, abandoning our principles in order to be seen as reasonable is clearly not the answer.