It Was Republicans Who Blinked in the Debt Talks

This is actually a decent deal for Obama and Democrats: Yale professor
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 3, 2011 1:18 PM CDT
President Obama makes a statement to the press in the Rose Garden Tuesday.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Conventional wisdom on the left has it that President Obama caved to Tea Party Republicans and gave away too much in the debt ceiling talks. A Yale contracts professor says the opposite is true: "The deal is much nearer an affirmation of the president's core commitments than a surrender," writes Daniel Markovitz in the Los Angeles Times. In fact, Obama ended up with a much better a deal than a "rational observer" schooled in the theory of negotiation would have expected. Why? "The Republicans blinked."

The Tea Party camp had the winning cards and, ideologically speaking, little to lose with default. "The most that the Republicans should have agreed to is a short-term stop-gap rise in the debt ceiling, insisting on some cuts in social spending now while retaining all of their leverage for demanding deep, structural cuts in a subsequent negotiation in the fall." But the end deal "is dramatically—shockingly—better from the Democrats' point of view." The GOP gave up that leverage and got relatively little in return. "While the cuts are significant and will hurt, they leave the basic core of the American social safety net intact. And the bipartisan committee charged with negotiating a grander bargain in the fall is free to revisit the possibility of new taxes." Read his full column.

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