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Thursday Morning

So let's see if I understand this…

Obama and the Republican leadership need to negotiate a financial package that will involve increased revenues — i.e., tax hikes in some manner. Republicans have grudgingly accepted that there will have to be some but as a trade-off, they want some cuts in entitlements. Obama has agreed that there will be some.

So far, this sounds like something that can get settled.

But Republicans also don't want to take the blame for cutting Medicare or Social Security or Pell Grants or anything like that. They want Obama to "own" those cuts so he has to propose them. Which he is not doing. He says he's willing to cut some entitlements but wants the Republicans to come forward with a proposal on which ones. Thus, the impasse is one of those negotiating roadblocks. Each side wants the other to go first so it can react to their proposal instead of coming up with their own.

Years ago, a TV show I was going to do collapsed under such a roadblock. It was for syndication and the syndication company said to the producer, "We want this depending on the cost. How much do you need to do an episode?" The producer responded by asking, "How much will you give us?"

The syndicator asked, "How much do you want?" The producer asked, "How much will you give us?"

The syndicator asked, "How much do you want?" The producer asked, "How much will you give us?"

The syndicator asked, "How much do you want?" The producer asked, "How much will you give us?"

On and on it went until both sides just kind of forgot about it. I don't think the president and Congress have that option.