The perfect negotiation

5 August 2011
After months of negotiations between Democrats and Republicans, Congress finally reached a bipartisan compromise deal to avoid the US going into a financial default. President Barack Obama signed legislation to increase the US debt ceiling just hours before the deadline for Washington to increase its borrowing limit. He admits the drawn-out talks were likely to have been unsettling for both businesses and consumers. The compromise package infuriated some right-wing Republicans and left-wing Democrats, who argued it included too much of their opponents’ agenda. In other words, while the Democrats had to agree to deep spending cuts, Republicans felt the bill should have included more savings. As one commentator put it: “Many will be happy that the deal has been done - even if the outcome pleases nobody.” It puts me in mind of Ken Orsatti who died in August last year. Formerly chief negotiator of the Screen Actors Guild, he told the LA Business Journal in 1994: “Someone once said that the perfect negotiation is one where both sides are unhappy. There’s some truth to that.” Is that your definition of a “perfect negotiation”?
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