Obama's "bargaining style"

These quotes raise the question of whether Obama doesn't want an agreement or whether he doesn't know how to negotiate one. Boehner apparently felt that he couldn't depend on what Obama was telling him. Except on taxes, nothing that Obama said seemed to last more than a day. The fact that Obama and the Democrats have been unwilling to make their own proposals public (see here and here) and have leaked Republican offers to press as well as attacked Republican budget proposals makes one think that they have wanted the talks to fail. From ABC News:

In a meeting with a small group of reporters in his Capitol Hill office this morning, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, criticized President Obama and White House officials for their lack of resolve in negotiations.

“Dealing with them the last couple months has been like dealing with Jell-o,” Boehner said. “Some days it’s firmer than others. Sometimes it’s like they’ve left it out over night.”

Boehner explained that talks broke down over the weekend because, he said, the president backed off entitlement reforms so much from Friday to Saturday, “It was Jell-o; it was damn near liquid.”

“By Saturday, they’d spent the previous day and a half just going backwards” on reforming entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

“The only thing they’ve been firm on is these damn tax increases,” the Speaker said. . . .

Meanwhile, Obama just rudely walked out of a meeting today.

President Barack Obama abruptly walked out of a debt-limit meeting with congressional leaders Wednesday, throwing into serious doubt the already shaky debt limit negotiations, according to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and a second GOP source.

Cantor said the president became “agitated” and warned the Virginia Republican not to “call my bluff” when Cantor said he would consider a short-term debt-limit hike. The meeting “ended with the president abruptly walking out of the meeting,” Cantor told reporters in the Capitol. “I know why he lost his temper. He’s frustrated. We’re all frustrated.” . . .

All this raises the question about why Moody's has placed the US on "review for downgrade." Is it because there has to be a risk or because the Obama administration keeps threatening to default and not pay the interest on the debt?

Moody’s Investors Service put the U.S. under review for a credit rating downgrade as talks to raise the government’s $14.3 trillion debt limit stall, adding to concern that political gridlock will lead to a default.
The Aaa ratings of financial institutions directly linked to the U.S. government, including Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Federal Home Loan Banks, and the Federal Farm Credit Banks, were also put on review for cuts, Moody’s said in a statement today. . . .

There is a lot of concern over "uncertainty" (see comments by Obama's head of the CEA, Austan Goolsbee), but Obama could reduce this considerably by simply saying that he will make sure that the interest is paid off. Obama says that he cannot guarantee Social Security Checks that will go out on August 3. Obama knows how much money will be available in a few weeks. Will the media say that he is irresponsible for saying: "I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on August 3rd if we haven't resolved this issue. Because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it."

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