The government shutdown is over, and the debt ceiling has been raised… at least for now. The government is now funded through January 15, and the debt ceiling will not be hit again until February 7. Without any large agreement, this debate will begin anew in about three months. Thus far, the Democrats and Republicans in D.C. have been unable to reach a true compromise.

There is an important difference between compromise and capitulation. When one party is forced to completely yield in a negotiation, it ruins the relationship. Compromise and negotiation depends a lot about the context and history of the disagreement. Compromise requires both parties to operate in good faith. When one party has a history of not living up to their end of the bargain, finding compromise is difficult. When long term issues are not addressed, as in the latest debt deal, any compromise will be ineffectual and short lived.

It is also important to pick deal breakers carefully. If any capitulation is a deal breaker, then the deal will always be broken. On the other hand, if everything is negotiable then that party will completely capitulate. It is a delicate balance of neither being too flexible, nor too rigid.


Podcast – Compromise – The Adam Goldfein Show – Hour 1

Podcast – Compromise – The Adam Goldfein Show – Hour 2



Additional Resources

The Wall Street Journal, Congress Passes Debt, Budget Deal:

The Wall Street Journal, Dollar Hit by Aftermath of Government Shutdown:

WFPL News, McConnell-Reid Deal Includes $3 Billion Earmark for Kentucky Project:

WSB Radio, Gov’t Open Again, Obama Bemoans Senseless Damage:

The Wall Street Journal, Quick Guide: What’s in the Debt Deal?

The Wall Street Journal, The Budget Battle’s Winners and Losers:

Live Science, Psychology of Compromise: Why Congress Fails:

Psychology Today, To Compromise or Not to Compromise:

Psychology Today, Stick to Your Guns—or Compromise?

Beyond Intractability, Game Theory:


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