From time to time, we find ourselves in the middle of serious bargaining. It can be a bit of a shock if we don’t do this much. That shock comes from the realization that we are playing a game with words and gestures instead of having a conversation.
So what happens? Well, at some point, one of the parties makes an offer. And the reaction is usually “You can’t be serious!” This is an attempt to get the other side to “bargain against himself”. To get that person to make yet another more attractive offer before the bargaining can begin in earnest. You got it. You should never, ever do this. You end up with getting a worse deal than if you insist on a counter-offer.
Well, guess what. That is exactly what the republicans are doing now with respect to negotiations over the so called “fiscal cliff”. President Obama made an offer to the republicans on how to go foward. BI tells us the republican reaction with this title
BOEHNER: I Looked At Geithner And I Said, ‘You Can’t Be Serious?’
Well, Obama is serious. This time — unlike before — he is refusing to bargain against himself. Paul Krugman lays out the details with a cautionary point. It could be that the republicans cannot and therefore will not make a counter-offer. That would be interesting. Let’s see what happens.