Monday, November 21, 2011

Clashing Assumptions 

The U.S. debt panel will conclude today in failure, an end observers have seen coming for a couple of weeks.  It is a lesson in clashing assumptions.  Neither side could see the other's point of view.  In other words, the debt panel was a futile exercise from the beginning.  It is also one more example of the limits of persuasion.  One can only reach consensus if the another is willing to listen.  Debt panel members apparently spent their time talking past one another.  There was no environment fostering agreement and no change in the minds of members of Congress.  Even if they had lashed together a compromise, it was unclear that it could have passed.  So now, Congress has "kicked the can down the road" until 2013 after the elections when they will try again.  If the make-up of the Senate and House do not change greatly, they will be no better off then.  Democracy is messy.


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