GOP can’t deny reality, must agree to compromise to avoid fiscal cliff

Published 12:16 pm Friday, November 16, 2012

By The (Baton Rouge, La.) Advocate: In the spirit of compromise we hope furthered by the clarity of the election returns, the two parties should agree on a budget deal, required by forthcoming deadlines on both the tax and spending fronts.

The principal compromises have to come from the GOP.

Other than that, we are simply denying the reality of the recent returns.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

In the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal, a fever-swamp of voodoo economics for many years, the president is said to be the one who must fashion a compromise that House Republicans will accept.

While the House has a GOP majority, it lost some seats, and would probably have lost more had district lines not been redrawn in many states in 2011 to favor GOP candidates. The GOP lost big in the Senate races, and of course the presidency, the race that many conservatives thought would be won by Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

And now it is the president who must find a way to satisfy recalcitrant Republicans?

The latest suggestion by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is for a two-stage process of keeping in place the Bush-era tax cuts prized by Republicans and “laying groundwork” — or some such formulation — for a bigger bargain later.

We think that’s a recipe for dragging out conflict and confrontation, instead of getting to the point. Perhaps all the details can be worked out early next year, but the main outlines of the agreement should be made now, and made to last.

The economy needs stability, and if the election returns meant anything, it was that the nation endorsed President Barack Obama’s vision more than Romney’s on taxes. A budget deal inevitably will reflect that fact.

We need a budget deal that will last more than the next few weeks. Setting up another political battle for February, which is what Boehner is suggesting, is economically counterproductive.

Further, Boehner has to carry the Republican caucus to compromise. It takes two to compromise, certainly, but ultimately the House GOP leadership has to be responsible for its members.

We hope that Boehner will work in good faith with Obama on a long-term plan for deficit reduction, and that Louisiana’s Republican members of Congress will support the speaker in passing a durable compromise.

That doesn’t mean Obama runs roughshod, but if there were ever a political and economic circumstance that cried out for decisive action, this is it.