The Deal Maker

Say what you will about George W. Bush, he at least understood the best way to get a “yes” in the often paralyzed Congress was to simply give people what they wanted most. He would give conservatives lower taxes, he would sometimes try to give Democrats increased spending on programs, and he would give corporations a cushy role as needless middlemen.

This all-goodies approach often increase the deficit, but the Bush administration didn’t care about deficits and by going along with it Congressional Republican showed it isn’t really a top priority for them either.

For years Obama has tried to convince all sides to needlessly sacrifice what they care about for a “grand bargain on the deficit,” and not surprisingly that has been a huge failure.

It now sounds like Obama may switch tactics and actually try offer all sides what they really want the most to get a deal. It is part of his proposed “grand bargain for middle-class jobs.” From AP story the White House tweeted:

President Barack Obama is extending a new proposal to Republicans that he hopes will break the political gridlock on budget negotiations, offering to cut corporate tax rates in exchange for job investments.

White House officials say just because they’re at an impasse with congressional Republicans over a grand bargain on reducing the deficit doesn’t mean they shouldn’t look for other areas of agreement. So Obama plans to use a trip to an Amazon.com distribution center in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Tuesday to propose a “grand bargain for middle-class jobs.”

It sounds like Republicans will get lower taxes, which has always been their overwhelming top goal. Democrats will get spending on jobs programs. Corporations will get lower taxes and more government contracts.

I can’t speak to the merits of this proposal but politically it might work as long as everyone is getting what they really want. Once Obama starts asking some groups to really sacrifice for the deal, the dynamic could be ruined.