Monday, July 18, 2011

Mr. Obama Cannot Win a Deficit Reduction Deal Even When He Negotiates with Himself

Maybe if He Put In Some Tax Cuts For Millionaires He Could Get Republicans To Accept Large Spending Cuts

Jared Bernstein has a nice chart that shows how the deficit reduction discussions have moved with respect to how much would come from spending and how much from increased revenues.

Source: My memory (Mr. Bernstein's not Mr. Dismal Political Economist's)

Mr. Bernstein’s conclusion.

But let’s get real here.  You cannot negotiate with people who refuse to do so.  In that case, with the stakes this high, you have to call them out and, as the President allegedly said, “take the case to the American people.”

The chart nicely illustrates the problem.  The Republicans will only accept a deal that is unacceptable to Mr. Obama, since anything he accepts is by definition something unacceptable to them.  So when he accepts their position it immediately becomes unacceptable to them.  

Mr. Kafka would be proud. 

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