Thursday, March 22, 2012

Congress requires compromise

By Thomas Haines, Opinion Columnist

When Bill Clinton became president, he, along with Congress, raised taxes on corporations and businesses.

Later in his presidential term, however, he lowered taxes in a compromise with the newly-elected, now Republican-controlled Congress in 1994.

In an interview on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Nov. 8, Bill Clinton said he believed“the system [the American government] is geared towards compromise.” Without compromise and bipartisan regulation in Congress, the American government essentially cannot do the job it was designed to do.

This is the problem we are facing today with the people who are in power in Congress.

A total of 95 percent of all Republican Congressmen and three out of the four 2012 Republican presidential candidates have signed the “Taxpayer Protection Pledge.” This pledge says those who signed it “oppose increases in marginal income tax rates for individuals and businesses.”

The problem with this pledge is it exemplifies the issue with having a Congress that refuses to compromise.

By promising theywill refuse to look at any legislation that may even slightly increase taxes,Congress is creating a situation where if it becomes evident that taxes need tobe raised, Congress will be unable to pass any progressive reform.

For example, if raising taxes becomes necessary to finance a war against a foreign aggressor or to pay for recovery after a horrific natural disaster, Congress will be helpless in raising the money for these situations because compromise on a tax reform legislation will be impossible.

So, while I understand many people do not want to raise taxes, whether it be taxes on individuals or business, it becomes clear compromise is needed.         

Congress will never be able function well without the ability to compromise on issues.

Thomas Haines is a junior at Pacific Lutheran University studying history. He is the vice president of the PLU Democrats and secretary for the PLU Secular Student Alliance.