Bargaining With Yourself

DC Politics Economics Ideas and Issues

        Little Rock      Watching from a distance the back and forth of internal push and shove within the Democratic caucus in Congress in both the House and Senate is a negotiations case study, no matter how painful the process.  In labor negotiations this is pejoratively called, “bargaining with yourself,” meaning that you are having to withdraw and modify demands, always strongly felt by the membership, when facing a resolute and immovable employer.

The difference between union and company negotiations and the excruciating legislative process is that frequently in labor matters, the union may be the only party that actually wants to come to an agreement.  In Congress on the Democratic side from the President on down, there can’t be any doubt that they want a deal and are going to come to out with one, no matter how many cuts and bruises to the original dream list.  The pundits are missing the forest for the trees on this by arguing that some representatives are quitting because none of the Democratic advocates right, left or middle are willing to compromise.  Baloney!  They will all compromise at showtime, but like all agreements that doesn’t mean caving in early or that anyone will be doing the happy dance before the deal is done.

The real forest is what happens to this deal when it goes to the other party.  What we have to remember, which is also very different than the collective bargaining process with management and labor, is that in this instance, bargaining with yourself works within the Democratic caucus when it means assembling the votes to bull the measures through the House and Senate past a recalcitrant opposition.  At that point, when the real sides are drawn, everyone is on the same team.

News media folks seem to have devolved in their sector now to about the same as sportscasters.  They want to mark every moment as if it’s the end of the game rather than just another inning on the way.  So what, Biden’s poll has dipped below 50% without even a year gone in his term?  Trump’s polling never got over 50% in any of the four years of his term!  Get this agreement on rebuilding infrastructure both physical and social services, have the team go back home for the ticker tape parade going into the holidays, and then see where everything stands.  Take a breath.  Keep calm.

One trillion for construction and two trillion for improvements in social services will give everyone plenty to sing and dance about back home.  For all the carping, the Republicans know that even if they want to yell from the peanut gallery at the home team now, it’s a long game and the players that keeping swinging, running the bases, and making the hard slide into home are the ones that end up as winners, not the quitters and complainers.