If ‘The Last Are First,’ Deal Making Might Have Looked Different This Week

As much of an idealist as I am I understand that politics is the art of compromise. What bothers me in New Jersey is that the art of compromise seems to primarily be used by the wealthy for the wealthy. Powerful insiders, making compromises with each other, that bless both sides with increased wealth. It's not about compromise for the sake of building a better world. This week was case in point.

Assembly Speaker Prieto and Senate President Sweeney wanted to see already high salaries raised for some important players (judges and the like) and so they compromised with the Governor so that he would get something he wanted—a book deal—in other words, permission to receive outside compensation for work while in office. The bill died today (finally some Democrats stood up to the party bosses). I'm glad it died, but it got me thinking, what if, once in a while, Democrats were to use one of these compromise moments to do something for poor people.

To be honest, I don’t really care if the Governor had gotten a book deal or not. He and his book are not my priority. If that deal was so important to him, why didn’t the Assembly and Senate leaders use the Governor's greedy ‘give me permission for a book deal’ moment, to do something to benefit those who are last in New Jersey, instead of to only consider benefitting themselves and their closest comrades?

Governor, you want your book deal? Okay, sign the bill to limit the use of Solitary Confinement and we can talk about your book. Governor, you want that book deal? Only if you’ll work with us to fast-track a bill to raise the minimum wage immediately, while we work again toward the Constitutional amendment next year.

What, Governor, you don’t want to compromise in ways that lift up those who are last? Well, we think the book ask was inappropriate anyway, so, you’ll just have to save your book for that long, boring future you’re going to have, starting about a year from now.

Peace, Seth Kaper-Dale
Green Party Candidate for Governor