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Sunday, October 26, 2014 | Last updated: 2:33am

Out of time: Congress needs to learn how to compromise



As the clock struck midnight and the year became 2013, our country fell over the dreaded fiscal cliff. Hardly anyone actually felt the full impact because of the eleventh hour deal struck on New Year’s Day, but we were once again witnesses to the federal government’s inability to act responsibly by finding common ground and demonstrating any willingness to compromise.

Even with a deal passed that will keep taxes low for most Americans and delay across-the-board spending cuts, the damage was done.

This May, the class of 2013 will leave Tucson, degrees in hand. Many of them will continue their education in an attempt to improve their position in the increasingly competitive job market, but most college graduates will be seeking full-time employment with their bachelor’s degree. Even with the economy slowly adding jobs and unemployment inching its way down, an analysis published by The Associated Press in April 2012 found that only about half of recent graduates have been successful in finding full-time employment, while the rest are either jobless or underemployed.

As these Wildcats go off into the real world, many more are walking through the doors of Centennial Hall and the Henry Koffler building for the first time. They will deal with rising tuition costs and government funding that continues to shrink at an alarming rate.

Quite a few issues that were up for debate during the fiscal cliff negotiations were problems that college students here and across the country are being forced to face. The national debt is reaching unprecedented highs and welfare programs are costing the nation more and more as the baby boomers reach retirement.

On August 5, 2011, credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded the federal government’s credit rating, not because it was defaulting on loans, but because Congress was so divided that debt ceiling talks dragged on until the government was set to shut down in less than 24 hours. As we saw this New Year’s Eve, nothing has changed since then.

Isn’t it time to make some tough decisions? It’s only going to get harder from here, and Congress can’t keep waiting till the last possible minute to compromise. Businesses need to know what the future will look like in order to plan and make hiring decisions, incoming and current students need to know what kind of federal financial aid will be available to them and universities need to know if the federal government will continue to issue research grants. As it always has been and always should be in a democratic society, compromise is the only solution.

Contact your representatives; urge them toward a middle ground that will allow businesses, students and the U A to plan for a future of economic prosperity. Urge your Republican representatives to give some ground and vote to raise some taxes, and urge your Democratic representatives to work on cutting some programs and adjusting welfare programs.

Most importantly, urge for compromise.

- Nathaniel Drake is a political science and communications sophomore. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions.


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