Is Political Compromise a Lost Art?

Is Political Compromise a Lost Art?

Quick.  Name five things that are difficult to find today.

A working phone booth. VCR tapes. Dial up internet. Encyclopedias. Congress working together.

The last one could be a problem when it comes to keeping the federal government running.

If the United States House of Representatives and Senate can’t agree on a government funding bill by September 30, 2013, the federal government will shut down. As of September 25, the House and Senate can’t agree on a bill.

With this in mind, most political experts can agree on one thing: the spirit of Washington compromise may not be dead, but it is on life support.

“It is becoming increasingly difficult for the parties to compromise,” says Gibbs Knotts, chair of the College of Charleston political science department. “Today’s elected officials are much more ideologically pure. Republicans are more conservative and Democrats are more liberal making it difficult for these politicians to reach across the aisle without angering their respective bases. Rockefeller Republicans and Hollings Democrats hardly exist in 2013.”

If the predictions are correct and the federal government is shutdown, College of Charleston political science professor Jordan Ragusa says it should not have too much of an impact on your day-to-day life.

“Unless you’re going to national parks or a federal agency, you’re unlikely to experience the shutdown,” Ragusa explains. “Social security checks, Medicare, and other essential services will continue to operate. There may be a modest economic downturn as a result, but most people will experience the shutdown in very limited ways.”

[Related: Read why Ragusa says government shutdowns are like Thelma and Louise.]

However, Ragusa says a long government shutdown may be felt most by business owners.

“With less money in the economy, in particular from federal employees who are furloughed, fewer people will be going out to eat, to movies and doing home repairs.”

Jordan Ragusa can be reached at

Gibbes Knotts can be reached at