Go Little, Go Low
Democrats negotiate futures. Ours.
(Above: Photo by Parsoa Khorsand, Unsplash)
The ‘missing the forest for the trees’ metaphor is often used in negotiation to shift the platform or dialogue. One criticizes the opposing position as ‘myopic,’ not seeing the ‘big picture.’
But there is another level to this shift: justifying the process rules to which both positions are adhering. One describes this level as ‘keeping the dialogue going,’ and it is on this level in the negotiations to gather support for President Biden’s $3.5 T infrastructure bill (‘Build Back Better’), that Democrats are currently lodged.
One ‘side’ is “go little,” eg. fully fund a fewer number of ‘popular bills, no expiration date, presumably saving ‘more contentious programs’ for future Congresses to ‘litigate,’ when Democrats have more seats.
“In recent days, some Democrats have begun pushing to narrow the scope of the package to a few programs and to make them permanent so a future Republican led Congress or White House cannot let them lapse.”
One ‘side’ is “go low,” eg. partially fund or shorten funding period on all programs in Biden’s package.
“Others want to seize the rare opportunity of one party control to create a host of new programs with expiration dates to meet price considerations, planning to battle Republicans in future elections if they try to end them.”
Both are limited positions as both face or are threatened by wholesale rejection by the Republicans and a few Democrat “hold-outs.”
Another constraint is that implicit in the $3.5T logic is an urgent call for wealth recalculation and redistribution reckoning two realities: the first, that an American democracy cannot co-exist with the present and growing level(s) of economic inequality; the second, that future generation(s) will lack the necessary tools for ensuring their survival as a species, based on missing or overlooked opportunities in the present.
Both realities demand restoration-bringing back what was lost-which is revealed by the nervousness about individual rights being reckoned or ‘tampered with.’
In short there are multiple, multi-faceted ‘messes’ to clean up: a ‘historical’ mess and an ‘environmental’ mess. How fast and how thorough the clean-up is, is what needs to be funded, not calculating ‘if, thens.’