In the Arena

How to Negotiate

  • Share
  • Read Later

The Republicans are, reportedly, outraged by President Obama’s opening bid in the fiscal cliff talks. Republicans always seem to be outraged. It’s getting boring. They need to step up and make a counter-offer.

That’s how people negotiate. In this case, they need to be specific about the spending cuts they want. When their specific initial offer is on the table, then you can haggle. (Of course, it’s entirely possible that all this is a smokescreen and actual haggling is taking place privately, between John Boehner and the President.)

But it is time to stow the Republican intemperance. It might have seemed “righteous” indignation when the GOP was deluding itself about representing a majority of Americans; now, it just seem puerile and petulant. Take, for example, this little outburst by Charles Krauthammer, in which the Administration’s opening bid is compared, unfavorably, to the unconditional surrender imposed on the South at Appamatox. Oh please. Does he really believe this infantile foot-stomping–the Republicans should walk out of the talks!–is going to be effective? Maybe so, given the fact that he’s lost his mind about so many other things in recent years.

What is difficult for the Fox talking heads to understand is this: We had an election. The President won. This gives him greater leverage than the last election we had, in 2010, when the President’s party lost. It isn’t absolute leverage, obviously, but it’s more than he had.  Wise Republicans know this score–and will negotiate as hard as they can to match the revenue increases with reasonable long-term entitlement cuts.

I suspect that we’ll go through the motions, clock ticking, right down thru Christmas week, creeping up till the New Year. Then we’ll have a last minute deal that includes slightly higher tax rates for the wealthy, entitlement cuts (including means-testing for old age entitlements)  and the promise to sit down and figure out a broader tax reform, reducing the corporate tax rate in return for loophole closings, next year.

But the assorted Republican drama queens seem so two months ago, don’t they?

 

190 comments
traffikator
traffikator

" I suspect that we’ll go through the motions, clock ticking, right down thru Christmas week, creeping up till the New Year. Then we’ll have a last minute deal that includes slightly higher tax rates for the wealthy, entitlement cuts (including means-testing for old age entitlements) and the promise to sit down and figure out a broader tax reform, reducing the corporate tax rate in return for loophole closings, next year"

And the Republicans would have won! He has a mandate. Reject soundly anything the Republicans have to say if it is not in line with his proposal. Everything in it has merit. What entitlements? Social security which we pay into is an entitlement? Medicare which we pay for is an entitlement? Let's cut out that word and remove from the conversation and negotiations!

bloodless_coup
bloodless_coup

@JoeKleinTIME LEGISLATION is VERY specific Joe & the House has passed SEVERAL. How many budgets has the SENATE passed recently, hm? Huh Joe?

Gringle
Gringle

There is no "reasonable long-term entitlement cuts."  There is no need to cut the deficit on the backs of the poor and elderly.  Neither social security nor medicare are really in that much trouble, they could be fixed by removing the cap on payroll taxes.  What is the point in making people suffer just for the sake of making them suffer?  Because Democrats don't want to get re-elected?

fitty_three
fitty_three

Next question:

How is the media going to wrap this rotten GOP potato in their "neutrality" meme?

fitty_three
fitty_three

GOP to the Middle Class:

[hearty shove]

Oops! Hypothetical aftershock! ~ Big Bang Theory

DrinkerOfTheRye
DrinkerOfTheRye

Obama is playing this the right way. Make an offer they won't accept and spend his remaining time campaigning around the country to make sure the Repubs take the fall off the cliff. Then he can pass the Obama tax cuts for 98%, avoid any spending cuts and reap political rewards two years later. FORWARD

fitty_three
fitty_three

Boehner is butthurt!

Maybe he'll cry us a river or two...

SaneVoice
SaneVoice

Do you know who created majority of the $16T deficit? Ans: REPUBLICANS!!!

Do you know who put a budget and executed for balanced and surplus budget? -Ans DEMOCRATS

Who converted surplus to deficit? Ans REPUBLICANS

Bingo!!!I would be thinking twice before believing Republicans.

SaneVoice
SaneVoice

Do you know who created majority of the $16T deficit? Ans: REPUBLICANS!!!Do you know who put a budget and executed for balanced and surplus budget? -Ans DEMOCRATSWho converted surplus to deficit? Ans REPUBLICANSBingo!!!I would be thinking twice before believing Republicans.

SaneVoice
SaneVoice

Why counter-offer? Do we need to balance the budget or let it ballon....Raise Taxes for rich to balance the budget. Reduce Defense spending. We already cut $1T of spending. It is time to increase taxes to filling the gap before we become Greece

SS and Medicare are separate taxes that are paid by the people. Actually govt had be taking money out of it and giving IOUs with no interest. If govt paid 8% interest what stock markets on average makes in last 50 years then it would not be in any trouble. So why Republican want to go after SS and Medicare/Medicad. If we want to reduce the costs under Medicare/Medicad - then veterans health care should come under the Military expenditure and they should be given better care but that cost should not be charged to Medicare.

Also, people having retirement income more than $250,000 or balances more than $5M in assets without primary residence should have to pay for medicare and should not get SS.

jeff4306
jeff4306

I'm a moderate.  I believe in social programs but also believe in being fiscally responsible.  I believe that fiscal issues take precedence because without money (borrowed or otherwise) social issues are irrelevant as there are no means to fund the variety of entitlements in our great nation.  Between Bush and Obama we have had the two biggest spenders in U.S. history.  It really doesn't matter if you are a democrat or a republican... the math is the math.  The math tells us that in order to balance the budget we would have to tax the wealthiest 5 percent at 88 percent or higher to balance the budget (obviously unreasonable).  Based on taxing those over 250K we will generate enough revenue to run the government for approximately 4 days.  So fine raise capital gains taxes etc. to make things more fair,  but understand it won't even begin to get us out of our fiscal nightmare.  Our government has a spending problem not a revenue problem but extra revenue would help so long as spending is reined in.  Democrats and republicans alike need to realize that we are Americans first.  Stop the finger pointing and demand more from our elected officials.

shepherdwong
shepherdwong

The President's leverage and Republican folly isn't simply about the fact that Obama won the last election, it's that vast majorities of the public, including majorities of Republicans, support his basic position: raising taxes on the plutocrats and protecting Medicare and Social Security. That's why the current Republican gambit is to try to force Obama to "put cuts on the table." They know they've already lost on taxes and don't want to complete their slow political suicide by being seen as the force behind cuts in Medicare. Obama and the Democrats may agree to unwise cuts to beneficiaries suggested by the Republicans but they'd be unbelievable fools for proposing them.

BillPearlman
BillPearlman

What the Republican should do is pull an "Obama". Vote present. Not yea or nay.  Let him have everything he wants.  Why not, the country shot to hell anyway.

Chernynkaya
Chernynkaya

@EdHull8 If you are, I'm right there with you!

DrinkerOfTheRye
DrinkerOfTheRye

After Obama wins and keeps most of the tax cuts, do we still have to call them the Bush tax cuts or can we start calling them the Obama cuts?

sevrdhd
sevrdhd

you all make me sick. you are a bunch of lemmings and exactly why this country is where it is today. so 4 years in and you still blame bush and republicans even though you have had control of the entire government for the first 2 years and passed everything you wanted. Was it bill Clintons economy during the crash ? dems controlled both houses of congress and the root cause was more government intervention into the housing market passed by dems and Clinton, but yet it was still bush's fault.  how many negative articles have you seen about this president  since he has been in office. When he was voted in gas was 1.81 but yet you still don't see any negative coverage even though this is the biggest tax increase on the poor that has ever occurred. He has been in several military conflicts without even telling congress but yet no negative coverage. American ambassador murdered by terrorist but no negative coverage  (oh but 3 non stop days about a comment by Romney). This will be the most open and honest administration in history, this administration has been the most secretive in history and the president has barely had any press conferences, shunning out the media but still no outrage or negative coverage. I could go on but its a waste of time. This crisis is not new. everybody knew this was going to happen but the president has been campaigning for over 2 years instead of doing the job he was elected to do but you don't hold him accountable because why ? oh that's right he's cool and gives you stuff other people paid for. If you all were really for fairness you would be demanding a consumption tax be put on the table like the fair tax which would tax people on what the buy instead of being successful. but that is not the plan its called class warfare, grow up and do the math this grand tax increase that is so important will fund the government for 8 days. what are you going to do the other 344 other than blame someone else. 

PeterPrinciple
PeterPrinciple

Krauthammer needs to read up on his American history (and Klein on his place names.)

Grant did NOT insist on unconditional surrender at Appomattox. He actually granted quite generous terms, considering that Lee's army was thoroughly beaten, starving, and trapped between three Union corps: Soldiers to be paroled and return to their homes; officers to keep their side arms; cavalrymen their horses.

I'm sure President Obama would be willing to offer similar face-saving gestures (Republican congressmen to keep their paid subscriptions to the National Review? Boehner to keep his bottle of Man Tan?) once the GOP accepts the fact that it's licked.

loyaldemo
loyaldemo

@theonlyadult @TIMEPolitics: Mr. McConnell, Get over yourself; you're "Bad" in a bad way. America has moved beyond you & out of touch GOP

ThenAtlasSpoke
ThenAtlasSpoke

I suppose I would find this article more offensive if anybody actually read Time, but they don't. I mean common' GQ, talk about irrelevance. Seriously, all this is is a 341 word essay by this blow-hard Klein presenting his opinion that everybody that reads it is a drooling buffoon by assuming anybody is actually going to believe this tripe. Mr. Klein, how about next time you have the nuts to proclaim your disdain for the common folk a little more loudly, proudly and directly...OK?

Suppose you present your own ideas Mr. Klein? How about presenting some ideas about how to get the President to negotiate in good faith before he pushes us over the cliff? You know...get him to come up with something more than "Give us what we want now and then we'll give you what you want at some future undefined later date...or not" *wink-wink-nudge-nudge-chortle-chortle*? Because that's all the President is doing. How about finding a way for the President to actually make a complete proposal that includes the specific spending cuts and entitlement reforms necessary to move us towards an actual real-life honest-to-gosh solution? But I suppose that is why you wrote this virtual version of wrappings for old stale coffee grounds and fish heads. You don't have any ideas of how to do make the President stop campaigning on this and actually take this seriously and you know eventually people will cop to this fact so you take your frustration out on everybody who read this by spending 341 words to show you assume them all to be pinheads.

Here's an idea, let's throw the negotiations open to the public? After all this is the President who -- regardless of his substantive actions to the contrary -- claims to love transparency. This debate should have been open to the public 18 months ago but the President wouldn't allow it then either. There's a reason for that.

traffikator
traffikator

@DrinkerOfTheRye 

The tax cuts are for 100%! Let us get the information accurate. They should quit talking about 98 and 2%. Every one will be getting a tax cut. The difference is that for those who make over $250K annually, the amount over 250 will not get the same tax cut but will remain at the same tax rate when the economy was booming under President Clinton.

SaneVoice
SaneVoice

@jeff4306 

Do you know who created majority of the $16T deficit? Ans: REPUBLICANS!!!Do you know who put a budget and executed for balanced and surplus budget? -Ans DEMOCRATSWho converted surplus to deficit? Ans REPUBLICANSBingo!!!I would be thinking twice before believing Republicans.

Now coming to your point

SS and Medicare are self funding till now. SS and Medicare are separate taxes that are paid by the people. Actually govt had be taking money out of it and giving IOUs with no interest. If govt paid 8% interest what stock markets on average makes in last 50 years then it would not be in any trouble. So why Republican want to go after SS and Medicare/Medicad? If we want to reduce the costs under Medicare/Medicad - then veterans health care should come under the Military expenditure and they should be given better care but that cost should not be charged to Medicare.

Gringle
Gringle

@BillPearlman I've heard like 6,000 republicans whining about how the country is shot to hell, but never any details.  Obama is basically a moderate republican from 20 years ago.  The economy tanked under Bush, remember?  It has rebounded under Obama.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@BillPearlman  

I like the idea too.  They should have done that in 2008.

We would have been leading the world in recovery, and by now, Obama would be working on balancing the budget and paying down the GOP induced debt.

Count me in!

SaneVoice
SaneVoice

@sevrdhd Do you know who created majority of the $16T deficit? Ans: REPUBLICANS!!!

Do you know who put a budget and executed for balanced and surplus budget? -Ans DEMOCRATS

Who converted surplus to deficit? Ans REPUBLICANS

Bingo!!!

I would be thinking twice before believing Republicans.

BricePasch
BricePasch

@sevrdhd I don't know about you or where you were living, but when he was voted in, gas where I live was $2.70 a gallon, that statistic is skewed due to one simple thing: It is a national average, and it is brought down dramatically by two states. Excluding Texas and Alaska at the time Obama was voted in the first time, the national average gas price soars to nearly $3. I notice you do not bring up 9/11, as you don't wish that to be included in the discussion. However, it is very hard to cover the simple fact that Osama Bin Laden's family was AT the White House for dinner that day, and only VP Cheney had the power to call the air force blackout that happened. Also, it is much harder for you to dismiss the other simple fact that the Bin Laden family is a business partner with the Bush family. Oil profits are higher than they have ever been. Also, you must not be a history buff, or think that history is a bunch of malarkey. When we were in our worst financial crisis in our nation's history, the Great Depression, FDR increased federal spending to "handout" services, as you have so eloquently termed them, about triple what Obama has (in percentage, if however we make FDR's spending into current dollars, its an even bigger cut) and how did that work out? Please, grab your shoulders and tug. Either side believing that their way is the "one true only correct way" will result in our failing as a nation. We either learn to work together, to a compromise that is actually beneficial to the populace, or we fail. Obviously, you want us to fail as you have not proposed anything other than derogatory statements. Wake up, smell the coffee. And oh yes, during the first 4 years, only the first 2 1/2 months of the presidency had a democratic majority in congress. Since then, it has been a Republican majority. I would usually say "get your facts straight, please, before arguing politics" but I've found facts do not matter to the Republican party. As a firm independent voter, I would much rather have a president who isn't afraid of taking action, or admitting he or she has made a mistake. Also, I would never want a president who does nothing but put up a smokescreen on the public. I've watched it personally with two republican presidents, and I've watched two republican congress' growl about impeachment. "Out of touch" is a simple understatement when bringing up the republican party, and you, sir, are going a long way towards reinforcing that in my head.

BobJan
BobJan

@sevrdhd Houses sell for less. He didn't start any wars. But I guess that you wouldn't be happy with anything this president does.

Paul,nnto
Paul,nnto

@sevrdhd "will fund the government for 8 days. what are you going to do the other 344"

Really well put. It speaks to how much thought you put into your rant. Hard to understand why the republicans have such a difficult time persuading voters. 

mrg8000
mrg8000

@sevrdhd "...even though you had control of the entire govrenment for the first 2 years..."Or, you know, 72 days. Whatever. Damned pesky facts.

bmont503
bmont503

@ThenAtlasSpoke If the Republicans force Obama to the cliff I will be walking with him. The American public re-elected Obama to do this job based on his election promises and we will be upset if he even backs down a little. If the Republicans force Obama over the cliff the mid-terms and the 2016 elections will be a blood-bath for the Republican Party. 

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@ThenAtlasSpoke 

I'm sorry, you seem to have confused the Republicans for the President.  The President's has capitulated a number of times on a number of issues including twice on the debt ceiling negotiations which got us to the fiscal cliff in the process and the Republicans still stood there and went "give us more".  So the President got sick of giving things up and meeting Republicans 95% of the way and being told to give them another 90% and all of a sudden he's the one who's asking for "give me everything I want"?  BULL.

sevrdhd
sevrdhd

@SaneVoice @sevrdhd are you sure about that ? when bush left office it was 10 trillion. That is inclusive of all presidents before him combined. Obama and the dems racked up 6 trillion all on their own in 4 years and still have no plans on stopping the planning. Like I have said before you guys have no clue. facts are facts.

sevrdhd
sevrdhd

@BricePasch @sevrdhd  making up "facts" don't make them true. Do some of your own research instead of just taking what the media and GOVERNMENT education tells you. in jan 2009 the day BO was swarn in

Convention retail gasoline  national average: 1.83

reformulated retail gasoline national average: 1.83

gasoline retail prices 1.79

sorry facts are a stubborn thing.....

John Boehner took over the house on jan 09 2011, BO was elected in 2009. So let me help you with the math that's 2 years that you all held the house, senate and pres. just because you could not get all of your own party to agree to your progressive ideas still don't change the fact that the republicans were the minority. - sorry again making up facts don't make them facts.

and Im not even going to reply to your 911 garbage. please the democrats have just as much if not more blame on that pie.  So please just go back talking on your Obama phone speaking to the welfare office getting your Obama bucks and drink that liberal koolaid.

sevrdhd
sevrdhd

@Paul,nnto @sevrdhd I know it is but you did not answer the question, what are you going to do ? use the power of government to take from one group of people to give to another that did not earn it again? sooner or latter there is nothing left to take.

ThenAtlasSpoke
ThenAtlasSpoke

@bmont503 @ThenAtlasSpoke Ummm...if I remember correctly the electorate also voted Republicans back into the House in controlling numbers. Or had you already forgotten?

ThenAtlasSpoke
ThenAtlasSpoke

@forgottenlord @ThenAtlasSpoke You're delusional. It is widely known that a deal between Boehner and Obama had been struck and was ready to to be signed off on that would have taken care of all of this back in June 2011 when Obama suddenly demanded additional 11th hour concessions from Boehner. And now Obama is demanding 25% more than THAT? That's not capitulating.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@sevrdhd

Shhh!

That date is still 2008.  Sorry, but you can't move it.

And what's more, those things happened.

Sorry, you want the next universe over.

sevrdhd
sevrdhd

@Gringle @sevrdhd @SaneVoice  HAHAHA wow really is that so. you may need to check your history again. The tax cuts you are referring to only account for 1.6 trillion of the 16 trillion of the national debt.  "BUSH's  tax cuts" ? was Obama not the president when he extended them so does that not make them Obama's tax cuts now. but anyways what about the other 6 trillion he has spent in 4 years. bush spent 4 in 8 years and remember he was un patriotic for doing that. Please grow up. get over bush he is not in office anymore. The state if the economy all the way down to the gas prices is at Obama's feet now. sooner or latter you liberals are going to wake up once your check stops coming and then it will be too late.

Gringle
Gringle

@sevrdhd @SaneVoice The deficit is mostly due to Bush's tax cuts which he never cut spending to pay for, and for his unpaid for wars which he left for Obama to end.

I do blame Obama for some of this; they ought to have let the tax cuts expire last time around and they should have been out of Afghanistan a LOOOONNNGG time ago.  But to act like Obama just sort of wandered in to the White House and started writing checks is ridiculous.  

fitty_three
fitty_three

@sevrdhd

We don't cherry pick 'em.  

You might want us to forget, but the Great Recession started in 2008, and that is the reason why Obama had to run up that debt. 

Never mind the fact that we even have an economy.  It almost collapsed and it wasn't GOPers that saved it.

mindbloque
mindbloque

so you rant about economics, but still can't do simple arithmetic. 8 + 344 = not 365.  fail

BobJan
BobJan

@ThenAtlasSpoke @bmont503 that was only after the republican controlled State Legislatures redistricted their voting areas to make sure they won. Note: Democrats do the same thing when their in charge.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@ThenAtlasSpoke @bmont503 

They lost Senate seats - strengthening Dem senate majority. GOP also lost house seats, but not enough to lose House majority (and most of it is because of gerrymandering anyways - something both sides do).

The biggest issue on the plate. Tax cuts or tax hikes. Numbero uno (regardless what righties might think about Benghazi).

And Tax cuts lost.

GOP controlling numbers in the house shrank. If that's not an indication to you then nothing is.

BruceStotts
BruceStotts

@ThenAtlasSpoke Ummm... if I remember correctly, the electorate cast 2 million more votes for Democrats in the House. Republicans lost seats, but gerrymandering allowed them to keep control.

Regardless though, that is not the point of the article.  Of course there will be negotiating on both sides. What everyone is tired of is Republican tantrums comparing a 3% tax rate hike to the Holocaust and Fox News dittoheads whining in internet posts about how Obama is the antichrist but somehow managed to get 50 million people to vote for him.

SaneVoice
SaneVoice

@ThenAtlasSpoke @forgottenlord 

There has to be no negotiation! Period... 

President won on the simple platform - 

1) Taxes return to Clinton years for Top 2% and remaining get the Bush cuts. 2) Keeping Medicare - called ObamaCare and SS as is!!! 

Republican Platform was 

1) Tax cuts for all 2) Vouchware - Medicare and SS cuts - Which they changed when they came to know people are against it - Keep medicare same for 10 years!!!

Are Republicans are higher than the citizens vote and demand!!!

Why counter-offer? Do we need to balance the budget or let it ballon....Raise Taxes for rich to balance the budget. Reduce Defense spending. We already cut $1T of spending. It is time to increase taxes to filling the gap before we become Greece

SS and Medicare are separate taxes that are paid by the people. Actually govt had be taking money out of it and giving IOUs with no interest. If govt paid 8% interest what stock markets on average makes in last 50 years then it would not be in any trouble. So why Republican want to go after SS and Medicare/Medicad. If we want to reduce the costs under Medicare/Medicad - then veterans health care should come under the Military expenditure and they should be given better care but that cost should not be charged to Medicare.

Also, people having retirement income more than $250,000 or balances more than $5M in assets without primary residence should have to pay for medicare and should not get SS.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@ThenAtlasSpoke

Check your history: Eric Cantor scuttled that deal.  In fact, Boehner was so ticked at Cantor that he let Cantor run the next meeting and Cantor got his head ripped off by Obama - and Boehner just sat there and didn't say a thing.  What was Cantor's problem with the deal?  It was 85/15 rather than 100/0.  A few more months of negotiation, Democrats offered a 100/0 deal, but it failed in the House because it didn't include Cut, Cap and Balance which actually didn't exist back in June (it was invented over the summer by the Tea Party).

@outsider2011

Nah, today it's more about venting.  Apparently, expecting your administrators to know whether to print the Report card clearly labelled "Grade 1-5 Report Card" or the Report card clearly labelled "Grade 6-8 Report Card" for your Grade 1-5 students (or, y'know, teach them the rather obvious differences between the two report cards so when they're spot checking them, they can realize their mistake) is a task far too complicated and difficult for one schoolboard and it's my company's fault (and really, since I built them, my fault) that they couldn't get it right.  Since I can't yell at them, beat up on some idiots instead.

jmac
jmac

@ThenAtlasSpoke @forgottenlord What planet do you live on, Then At?  Boehner was never going to sign off on any kind of tax increase.  Even if he wanted to, he was never going to get  Republicans to vote with him - they all knew they'd lose their seat if they voted against Norquist.   The noise machine on the Right is loud and effective.  They eat their own.    

Fallout2man
Fallout2man

@ThenAtlasSpokeUm no, it is because him offering ANY DEAL AT ALL was a compromise. This entire thing HAPPENED because the debt ceiling, which was NEVER an issue under Bush or ANY of the previous presidents was chosen to be a political football by the G.O.P.They made a radical pronouncement that had never happened before. $1 in spending cuts for $1 of borrowing authority or the American economy gets it. You have lost EVERY bit of the major context as to how this entire situation was created to begin with.The G.O.P. owns this stinker entirely, THEY started the issue, THEY refused any compromise that wasn't 99% of what they wanted. (By the way the details of the original agreement have been leaked, very G.O.P. friendly deal from Obama, even cuts TRICARE which veterans benefits should be sacred for all the hell we make our soldiers go through.) and Obama just wanted to come out looking like a bipartisan winner, that was all.Now do you care to actually REFUTE that? Not just yell "Your full of it!" but make a cogent argument as to HOW WHAT I SAID WAS FULL OF IT? I dare ya ;)

cdnblaze
cdnblaze

@ThenAtlasSpoke @forgottenlord Honestly Why you sane and sensible americans give these mouth breathers the time of day is beyond me.  They are oblivious to reality and have no compunction to change or reflect in any way. Pay them no heed and let the world pass them by. 

cdnblaze
cdnblaze

@ThenAtlasSpoke @forgottenlord Please stop listening to fox news and Nutzy AM radio for your entire worldview, I am a canadian and even know that you are B.S. through your teeth.