Noted for January 6, 2013
Work and Search in Recessions: Theory, History and Measurement: Elizabeth Ballroom F: Manchester Grand Hyatt

Dealing with Hostage Takers Like Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

Hostage-takers like Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) reason that although they do not like what happens if the situation blows up, you dislike what happens if the situation blows up more--so given that they have the power to blow up the situation if they are not satisfied, all they have to do is (a) declare what will make them satisfied, (b) wait, and (c ) accept your knuckling-under to their demands.

In order to get hostage-takers like Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to back down from their crazy and accept a real deal, you have to persuade them of two things:

  • They prefer the real deal to what happens if the situation blows up.
  • You prefer--or are at least indifferent to--what happens if the situation blows up to the real deal.

I don't see a strategy from Obama to convince Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and the other debt-ceiling hostage-takers that Obama has a path for what happens after the debt ceiling is breached that he prefers to a real defusing deal. And unless Obama has such a strategy, I don't see how the debt-ceiling cliff is defused.