Editorial: Compromise not their best subject

Feb. 26, 2013 @ 07:03 PM

As the clock ticks closer to a Friday deadline with economic impact throughout the country, leadership has again failed us.

It is not singularly the White House and Democrats, nor is it the Republicans alone. All are deserving.

Without compromise, budget cuts will automatically go into effect on Friday. It is an $85 billion impact, with the fallout ranging from classrooms to food inspections to the country’s military defense.

How holed up are the two sides?

President Barack Obama appeared at a Tidewater Virginia shipyard Tuesday, but was being roundly criticized for not leading by asking party leaders into some kind of a summit. In-person discussions between the sides have been non-existent. The party line: Republicans won’t compromise, and tax increases and targeted cuts are the answer.

Republicans, however, have been no better. They’ve dug in their heels, apparently willing to sacrifice scores of jobs, not to mention services to children, just to keep Obama from “winning another one.” The party line: the budget trigger was the Democrats’ idea, and spending cuts solve the problem.

New Hampshire Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte summed it up well.

“I think the American people are tired of the blame game,” she said.

And yes, she said it just moments after blaming Obama.

That would be the same Obama who approved issuing news Sunday night that could only be described as panic inducing. The White House let every state know what the cuts would mean state-by-state.

What they didn’t tell us was whether states could make fiscal adjustments and cover shortfalls, or which programs have flexibility.

Granted, North Carolina’s numbers were eye-popping — more than $258 million in military and law enforcement, more than $40 million in education, more than $5 million in health and nearly $5 million in the environment.

North Carolina isn’t likely to cover it all or be flexible enough to adjust for it all. We’re going to get hurt, too.

Tired and weary are we of this merry-go-round atmosphere in Washington. The bottom line is both sides need to be talking to each other, and both need a lesson on what it means to compromise.