Sunday, July 31, 2011

Quick Note on the Prospective Deal

A few quick points:

1. Everyone is working off of incomplete information.

2. It is in the interests of all advocates, as long as negotiations are still open (or negotiations can potentially be re-opened) to denounce any compromise as a sell-out that's just too much for their side to accept, in the hopes of moving the final agreement a tick or two or more in their direction.

3. Almost everyone is taking their cue, including the basic information they are getting, from partisans and advocates; see points one and two for where that gets us.

That's not to say that no one is right or wrong about how good a deal anything in particular might be; it's just worth pointing out that the dynamics of the situation should, at this point, leave everyone unhappy.

After the deal is finally enacted, the incentives are a lot more complicated; some partisans may find it in their interest to portray it as a win, and others will not. But at this point, everyone outside of the negotiations should be upset.

Oh, and by the way, Seth Masket is absolutely right.


  1. Oh, come on -- the GOP has taken the economy hostage, issuing a serious threat to plunge us into a new Depression in order to get what they want, and you're telling DEMOCRATS to "just fix it?" Urgh.

  2. "After the deal is finally enacted, the incentives are a lot more complicated; some partisans may find it in their interest to portray it as a win, and others will not."

    No comment on the debt ceiling deal but I'd like to hear more about why this would be so in general. As Congress has gone through a couple of cycles of partisan whiplash, the pattern seems to be that even as the out-party thinks the in-party represents new heights of radicalism, the in-party is extremely disappointed with what they've accomplished. The disadvantages of pointing to your own side's defeats are obvious, that could lead to depressed turnout for instance. (this spelled trouble for the Democrats in 2010, and it might hurt the House GOP in 2012 even if Obama loses). What are the advantages of such defeatism? Do partisans think they could achieve a further purging of the ranks? Are they just plain frustrated and don't care about the results?

  3. The GOP won't care about temporary defense cuts, that they figure their new president will restore in 2013. If tax increases aren't a threat, I don't see why they will agree to anything.

    The question is does Obama really want to extend the Bush tax cuts on just those making over $250,000? He's been reported willing to deal the cuts on middle class families away.

    This was not such a big f'n deal until now, after two years where all the deals have been "spending cuts only". To keep funding the programs we want, every penny of that $3.6T or so needs to go back into the treasury. Without that revenue, there's no way to balance a non-wingnut budget, much less address long-term debt reduction.

  4. Eh... yes and no, on the Masket piece. He's certainly correct on the mechanics of representative democracy, but I don't think he's accurately describing this particular situation. He starts from the assumption that there is agreement on the problem that needs to be fixed. His phrasing suggests that the problem is the deficit, but that doesn't, to me, seem like the problem that we're trying to solve.

    Some folks, including myself, think that the problem is that the government is running out of legal borrowing authority, and the incredibly obvious solution is the remove or raise this limit.

    Others, including much of the Republican party, think that the problem is that the government spends money, and that the obvious solution is for it to stop doing so.

    Imagine a pipe bursts in your house, and it begins flooding, and you call a plumber, who refuses to repair the pipe until you convert to Mormonism. You might be entirely justified in saying to him, "Just fix it!", even if he thinks the real problem is that you don't yet believe the teaching of Joseph Smith.


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