Google


What We Have Here is a Failure to Negotiate

November 15, 2011 | Filed Under Alan Caruba, Budget, Congress, Democrats/Leftists, GOP, Liberals, Taxes | Comments Off

-By Alan Caruba

In the movie, “Cool Hand Luke” the warden of a prison camp utters the now famous line, “What we have here is a failure to communicate.” The decision of the Democratic members of the Congressional Super Committee to refuse further discussion of revenue issues is a failure to negotiate.

I have a friend, Jim Camp, who is one of the world’s authorities on negotiation, a coach to international corporations and others that engage in multi-million dollar deals requiring major negotiation skills. When the news was reported on Wednesday that the Democratic members had walked away from the negotiation table, I picked up the phone to ask for his reaction.

“We live in an era when the conventional wisdom is that compromise is the goal,” said Camp. “The real goal is a valid mission and purpose. What’s missing is that the committee as a whole is not focused on the real mission which is the best result for the American people and the nation. Instead, their goal is political gamesmanship, a massive over-reach by both parties to the negotiation.”

Based on more than twenty years of coaching negotiations, Camp said “Tactics do nothing more than create conflict.” The news media reports on tactics, but Camp said “Neither party is negotiating to the benefit of the American people.”

What is at stake? It’s not whether Democrats or Republicans “win” the Super Committee negotiation.

Created under the Budget act of 2011, the law was passed the first two days of August when the nation’s $14.294 trillion debt ceiling was raised to avoid a potential national default. It was the fourth increase of the mandatory borrowing cap during President Obama’s first term; one that saw the first down-grade of the nation’s top credit rating in its history.

Consisting of six members each from the House and Senate, evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats, the official name for the Super Committee is the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. The amount of debt is comparable to the annual Gross Domestic Product, meaning that every dollar the economy earns is equal to the amount of debt that exists.

In the basic terms, Democrats want to raise revenue through taxation to address the debt and permit for more spending. Republicans have committed themselves to avoid such an increase during a period of recession.

The decision to walk away from the negotiation reflects one of Camp’s major warnings. “To act according to how you think the other side will react to you and your actions creates great conflict. To think you know what someone is going to do or say based on how you impact them is to attempt suicide.”

It would be naive to think that the Democrat and Republican members of the Super Committee are not negotiating with an eye on the 2012 elections. As a November 10 Wall Street Journal editorial notes, Republicans have offered a plan “to raise revenues by $500 billion over 10 years as part of a tax reform that would lock in lower rates in return for giving up deductions. Democrats have rejected it, which is puzzling since it would achieve so many of their stated goals.”

Refusing to negotiate makes sense only if Democrats are positioning themselves to blame the Republicans for the failure to avoid another potential down-grade of the nation’s credit rating. It’s not the truth, but the truth is often a rare commodity in politics.

“What we are witnessing,” said Camp, “is a textbook definition of incompetence.”

All negotiation, says Camp, is based on emotion. When both sides share a vision of the end result of the negotiation it can move forward. When emotions blind one or both sides, it is doomed.

As a recent Los Angeles Times editorial noted, in order to slash federal borrowing by at least $1.2 trillion over the coming decade, “members will have to bridge a deep partisan divide over taxes, spending programs, and the effect of government spending on the economy.”

That is the mission, the purpose of the Super Committee, and the editorial warned that “If they have any doubts about the need to cut a deal, however, they should turn their attention to what’s happening on the other side of the Atlantic.”

The turmoil in Europe, based on decades of excessive borrowing and spending by several nation-states, is a reflection of how critical it is for the Super Committee to achieve its mission.

Automatic cuts, not guided by the need, for example, of maintaining our military strength could have disastrous consequences if the U.S. was perceived as weakened and vulnerable by its enemies. Diminishing our military capabilities at this time is not an option.

The Super Committee is an admission of the failure of the U.S. Congress to fulfill its responsibility to conduct the nation’s borrowing and spending in a prudent fashion and it’s been a failure in which both Parties have participated for a very long time.

The deadline for the Super Committee to reach agreement is November 23, the day before Thanksgiving and one side has walked away from the table.

I wish the Super Committee could bring Jim Camp in to help resolve the impasse. Simply stated, failure is not an option.
____________
Alan Caruba writes a daily post at http://factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com. An author, business and science writer, he is the founder of The National Anxiety Center.

© Alan Caruba, 2011

Comments

comments


Fair Use: This site may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I am making such material available in my efforts to advance understanding of political, human rights, economic, democracy, and social justice issues, etc. I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research, educational, or satirical purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site/blog for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

You must be registered and logged in to post a comment. Anyone can register. No registrant's information is kept, used, or sold. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Social Networking


Help the Soldiers!



American Genius

Our Founding Ideas

"Governments are instituted among men,deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776





Enter your Email


Preview
Powered by FeedBlitz

Subscribe in a reader




Recently Written

  • Gary’s Liberal Deprogramming Workshop
  • You Built This, Mr. President, Ferguson is all That is Wrong With Democrats
  • On Ferguson I Was Right No Indictment, Updated With Testimony
  • Dana Perino Wrongly Claims Obama ‘Has The Prosecutorial Discretion’ To Issue His Amnesty
  • Obama Shocked by Suggestion Another Prez Might Selectively Enforce Tax Law
  • Labor Unions For Dummies
  • That’s Christmas To Me – By Pentatonix
  • Why Inner City Blacks See Racism Everywhere and Think We Are Still in Slave Days and Whites Don’t
  • Where is Hillary on Obama’s Abuse of Power? The Five Times She Said Presidents Need Limits
  • To Aid Obama, Old Media Establishment Took a Pass on Gruber Videos


  • What THEY Say:
    Foreign News In English




    Click HERE for information
    on my fedora collection.
    Antique Stetsons, hat history...



























    Contact Us

    Email Publius' Forum

    Archives

  • November 2014
  • October 2014
  • September 2014
  • August 2014
  • July 2014
  • June 2014
  • May 2014
  • April 2014
  • March 2014
  • February 2014
  • January 2014
  • December 2013
  • November 2013
  • October 2013
  • September 2013
  • August 2013
  • July 2013
  • June 2013
  • May 2013
  • April 2013
  • March 2013
  • February 2013
  • January 2013
  • December 2012
  • November 2012
  • October 2012
  • September 2012
  • August 2012
  • July 2012
  • June 2012
  • May 2012
  • April 2012
  • March 2012
  • February 2012
  • January 2012
  • December 2011
  • November 2011
  • October 2011
  • September 2011
  • August 2011
  • July 2011
  • June 2011
  • May 2011
  • April 2011
  • March 2011
  • February 2011
  • January 2011
  • December 2010
  • November 2010
  • October 2010
  • September 2010
  • August 2010
  • July 2010
  • June 2010
  • May 2010
  • April 2010
  • March 2010
  • February 2010
  • January 2010
  • December 2009
  • November 2009
  • October 2009
  • September 2009
  • August 2009
  • July 2009
  • June 2009
  • May 2009
  • April 2009
  • March 2009
  • February 2009
  • January 2009
  • December 2008
  • November 2008
  • October 2008
  • September 2008
  • August 2008
  • July 2008
  • June 2008
  • May 2008
  • April 2008
  • March 2008
  • February 2008
  • January 2008
  • December 2007
  • November 2007
  • October 2007
  • September 2007
  • August 2007
  • July 2007
  • June 2007
  • May 2007
  • April 2007
  • March 2007
  • February 2007
  • January 2007
  • December 2006
  • January 2006
  • December 2005
  • November 2005
  • October 2005
  • September 2005
  • August 2005
  • July 2005
  • June 2005
  • May 2005
  • April 2005
  • March 2005
  • February 2005
  • January 2005



  • Add to Technorati Favorites


    Clicky Web Analytics