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The Price of Politics Summary

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The Price of Politics Summary“The Price of Politics” is a look behind the curtains in the operations of the US government.

About Bob Woodward

Bob WoodwardBob Woodward has written a number of books on the US government.

“The Price of Politics Summary”

Watergate reporter Bob Woodward gives an inside look at the way that Republicans in Congress and President Barack Obama’s administration tackled one of the biggest problems the White House ever had.

In the summer of 2011, the country was on the verge of disaster.

President Barack Obama established a relationship with the Republican members of Congress in a try to rescue American Economy.

During the negotiations which were supposed to yield a stimulus package, the disagreements between the Democratic and the Republican parties became visible.

Democrats wanted to cut the Bush-era tax cuts lapse, to raise the revenue, while Republicans wanted to cut benefit programs like Social Security and Medicare without raising taxes.

The country’s debt and spending were serious, and President Obama knew that such conduct posed a threat to the nation’s economy.

Obama’s administration proposed a budget which according to them would establish a fiscal commission and satisfy the deficit hawks on Capitol Hill.

The president’s economic advisers, however, did not believe that this budget adequately addressed the issues.

In 2010 Obama’s administration successfully passed the health care reform.

After the elections of 2010, Obama entered negotiations to continue cutting the Bush taxes, which was agreed upon, for the next two years.

They approved 13 months of unemployment insurance and prolonged the payroll tax cut for another year.

This event set the scene for the occurrences of 2011, by adding to the deficit and the national debt.

Soon, the government had to raise the debt ceiling, to prevent the nation from defaulting what it owed.

In this House of Representatives vote to raise the national debt ceiling, which was supposed to be a mere routine, US government almost destroyed the country.

Woodward tells us the story of how this drama played out. He covers it until the decision on Bush’s tax cuts, and the December 2012 fiscal cliff, since he has written the book before the 2012 presidential elections.

However, he explains how what is happening with the US came to be.

Key Lessons from “The Price of Politics”

1.      The Long, Hot Summer
2.      Armageddon Approaches
3.      Denouement

The Long, Hot Summer

The talks on raising the debt ceiling were not easy. Democrats were in the minority, but the Republicans had their problems too.

Among other questions, they opened the talk on extending payroll tax holiday.

Obama and Boehner also participated in private talks to one another.

Armageddon Approaches

Negotiations seemed to last forever.

In mid-July Obama and Boehner almost closed a deal in their private talks, but then two things happened:

The “Gang of Six” created a budget proposal asking for more revenue than Obama was asking of Boehner.

Obama and Boehner had a phone conversation which was disastrous.

The talks were ended.


The Democratic congressional leaders, Boehner, and Cantor tried to come to a Capital Hill resolution. The president, however, did not wish to sign a bill that offered less than the debt limit being extended past 2012.

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“The Price of Politics” Quotes

The extension of the debt limit was supposed to be routine. Click To Tweet Obama was being subjected, dramatically, to the long, torturous ways of budget negotiations and Washington deal-making. Click To Tweet The president believed that a large number of Boehner’s rank and file – the extreme Tea Partiers – were dangerously irresponsible. Click To Tweet Boehner understood that the secret to getting anything done in Washington was the ability and willingness to cut deals. Click To Tweet No one needed to spell out the political risks of passing a new stimulus bill. Click To Tweet

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