How to Negotiate the National Deficit and Debt Ceiling

We are all watching as our representatives in Washington struggle over their negotiations.

Much can be learned watching this political theater.

The most important negotiating tip to take away from this is:

Do not go to Washington to learn how to negotiate!
It is obvious that most people in Congress regardless of their political affiliation forgot long ago the basic tenants of negotiating.

Integrity is definitely lacking when bending the truth on national television is the norm. Double-speak and falsehoods are now an accepted part of the national dialogue.

Honesty is lost when terms are changed after agreements are struck or proposals are rejected before being considered. Honesty is more than not lying. In negotiations it includes having the honor to respect one another and consider fully each proposal.

The desire to get things done, an essential characteristic of an effective negotiator, seems lacking on the part of all involved. It appears most of our elected representatives are content with worrying more about the next election than the Country.

If we are to believe what we hear, we are out of time to get things done . Those in Washington have had ample time to negotiate the debt ceiling or address the national debt but the political posturing and antics have taken away that luxury. When rushed negotiators make mistakes. We can expect a very big mistake to be made in Washington!

Being informed is essential to a negotiator. In Washington so much time appears spent on spinning the message that there is little time to actually understand the fullness of the problem and evaluate proposed solutions. The general consensus is that none of the current plans do anything to solve the underlying problem; our deficit spending. Effective negotiators do not waste time. Posturing and bluffing in negotiations takes time which is rapidly running out. An able negotiator knows when to settle down and work on the problem. Our collective representatives seem to have lost that perspective.

A final observation. In this negotiation between power players there seems to be little power wielded. These reputed power players have been left with the sole strategy of merely blocking each other rather than actually moving the discussion forward. The President has been cut out of the actual fray. The Senate killed the House bill without considering it. And the House killed the Senate bill before it formally arrived.

The result is a stalled negotiation with time running out. This appears to be the perfect setting to see the negotiators forced into making a big mistake in terms of solving the problem. They may reach an agreement but it will likely fall short of solving anything.