Marty LatzShare, a professor of negotiation theory, suggests that Democrats reframe our narrative and improve our bargaining power by redefining the 'Fiscal cliff' just a hill we can jump off, and thinks our president will get "the best 'grand bargain' if he first gains control of the agenda and narrative, then automatically achieves tax hikes on the wealthiest, on Jan. 1, then waits until 2013 to close a deal, when Democrats have a stronger position in the congress, and he can use the bully pulpit.
With the Bush tax extensions behind us, we move out of the adversarial position over "tax hikes for the rich," and instead can focus on the mutual interest of a tax cut for the middle class and closing loopholes where our positioning is much more powerful and conducive to compromise in real mutual interest.
Our position will then be stronger because, first, we will have more Democratic senators and representatives, and second, we will have achieved one of our most important objectives automatically, on January 1, when the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest expire automatically - we do not need to make any concession to achieve this.
Dear Mr.President: Let me be frank -- you are losing leverage each day you negotiate with the Republicans on the budget without publicly reframing the fiscal cliff as a flexible deadline that can pass without serious ramification.
The campaign has been over for a week and you appear to be already losing control over the negotiating agenda. How? By seemingly accepting the narrative that the fiscal cliff is a hard deadline that on January 1 will throw our economy into a tailspin.
As you know, this is not true. The Bush tax cuts will expire and sequestration will go into effect only starting on January 1. Employers will not suddenly fire workers if there is no budget deal by then. ...
How? Use your bully pulpit to promote this as a fiscal "hill" with a gradual impact on the economy, not a "cliff" with a precipitous economic drop on January 1. This will ameliorate any negative impact on January 1 and give you and the new Congress time to work out your "grand bargain."
At that point, if the President uses his bully pulpit effectively, we then have enormous bargaining power to invite the GOP to agree with us on passing the Bush tax extensions for the middle class - something they will be under enormous pressure to do without any concessions. (And, I might add only to strengthen the point, imagine this as something on its own, might be considered part of a GOP tax cut agenda w might be asking what concession they will they give us to accept.)
Latzshare reminds us that former President Ronald Reagan set the tone for the remainder of his term by taking a hardline with air traffic controllers.
11:03 AM PT: I should add that as long as Democrats have something like this firmly in mind as our "best alternative to a negotiated outcome," or BATNA I suspect Republicans will be eager to avoid even a "fiscal hill" which does also have danger for impacting consumer confidence.
My primary goal in posting this is to bolster the strength of our position and encourage our negotiators from making a once in a generation level strategic blunder of agreeing to the reduced cost-of-living formula or other cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and government pensions, which will be severely damaging to our hard fought Democratic unity.