Psst!! Want a good deal on a Rolex
MARTY MOOREAt last. He's finally gotten the hang of it. After four years of negotiating with himself, President Barack Obama has learned the art of bargaining.
Published: December 10, 2012
Published: December 10, 2012
Republicans are screaming bloody murder because Obama started off the fiscal cliff negotiations where every roadside vendor learns early on to begin the dealing: Start high, not where you think the mark – er, the customer – is willing to pay for the "authentic" Rolex you're peddling.
Throughout his first term Obama was rightly castigated by Democratic backbenchers for showing up in policy poker games with his hand exposed. He presumed Republicans would be suitably impressed and quickly reach amicable consensus if he incorporated part of what they'd advanced in the past.
In his stimulus plan, for instance, he designed the package devoting fully a third of the $800 billion to tax cuts favored by Republicans, thereby sacrificing additional infrastructure projects economists believe are much more effective stimulants. What did Republicans do? They "pocketed" the cuts and savaged the proposal.
Similarly, in his health care pitch, he incorporated several ideas such as private exchanges and individual mandates believing Republicans would welcome his overtures and respond positively to proposals they had already put forward. Wrong again!
Instead, Republicans bashed the president for refusing to listen to them ignoring the fact he'd already unilaterally compromised by integrating their ideas into his proposals. It's like playing tug-of-war with your side starting out in the mud pit.
This time is different. Obama presented the GOP leadership with, in their words, a "laughable" proposal. The president's plan calls for $1.6 trillion in additional taxes from the wealthy over 10 years, as well as $50 billion in short-term stimulus spending and $612 billion in recycled cuts from last year's failed debt talks. That's what he campaigned on, so no surprises there.
"Hey, you want to buy a Rolex cheap?" We all know how it's done. And it was about time Obama learned to play the game.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Obama's point man on the fiscal cliff negotiations, laid it out on the Sunday morning talk shows: "Republicans need to tell us what they're prepared to do. What we can't do is sit here trying to guess what works for them."
House Speaker John Boehner now has done exactly that, outlining $1.2 trillion in 10-year spending cuts, half of which come from Medicare – including raising the eligibility age to 67 – and Medicaid and the rest unspecified and rejecting tax rate increases on the rich in favor of raising $800,000 in revenue by ending deductions and loopholes. "No way, man! I'll give you half of what you want."
Let the dance begin.
Marty Moore is a freelance writer living in Port Richey.