Compromise is a hot election issue this year.  Each party is accusing the other of being unwilling to compromise. So it is heartening to see two beautiful examples of compromise come at the same time on both sides of the Atlantic. 

Chief Justice Roberts in a masterful political move re-framed the challenge to President Obama’s health care law from one dealing with the “interstate commerce” clause of the Constitution to one dealing with the government’s right to tax.  While I have not yet read his majority opinion, I assume he based this tax angle on the penalty imposed on those who refuse to buy health insurance.  Whatever the legal scenario, Roberts effectively passed the issue on to the election this year which pits Republicans promising to overturn the law against Democrats intent on keeping it on track, which is a better forum in which to decide the issue.

Meanwhile Chancellor Merkel of Germany pulled off no less a complex political compromise when she agreed to allowing the European Union’s two funds for salvaging and defending the Euro be open to funding EU banks directly, instead of via their respective national governments.  The reason for this is that, by lending directly to the banks, the national governments do not incur further debt on their accounts, and thus there is no affect on government deficits  and national debts.  This is important since the nations requiring this assistance are already paying heavy political prices to bring their budgets into  line with what has been dictated by the lending agencies. 

To complete this elaborate compromise the EU will bring all the banks in the EU under a supranational regulatory agency.  Thus it will be each bank’s responsibility to conform to required standards to receive money, not the national government. 

Who says compromise is dead?