Today’s policy fight over the fiscal cliff reflects in part a failure by lawmakers to successfully negotiate, Heritage Foundation policy expert Stuart Butler writes in an overview of the dynamics of the ongoing debate.
He urges lawmakers to learn from arms negotiators, labor arbitrators and other deal-makers. They employ techniques that recognize and address the other side’s deeply held concerns, follow procedures for discussion, and seek win-win situations.
For example, he suggests that conservatives can exploit divisions in the liberal coalition to move forward a deal on entitlements:
conservatives seeking a smaller, more targeted government could make common cause with progressives seeking fewer government benefits for the rich. That could perhaps produce agreement on a redesign of today’s social insurance programs that would advance the goals of both conservatives and progressives.
Butler also points out that conservatives are right to be wary of tax-first-cut-later budget deals:
This is more than a theoretical fear, since it has been a familiar pattern of budget “compromises” for decades: Tax rates are raised permanently in return for reductions in entitlement spending that may require future Congresses to enact them, and many of the spending reductions do not materialize.
Do you think Congress will strike a budget deal to prevent the Taxmageddon tax hikes and other elements of the fiscal cliff?