Too much ink has been spilled this week ridiculing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and her minions’ proposal of “The Green New Deal.” Pundits and talk show hosts have pointed out the economic impossibility of the plan and what it would do to our economy and standard of living. I think what they are missing is that “The Green New Deal” is an extreme anchor. Let me explain.
Your teenage child is going out with friends on a Saturday night. You want him/her home by 10:00PM, they of course want to stay out until midnight like all the cool kids. So, at the start of the negotiation of what time they will be home you suggest and extreme anchor and say, “be home by 8:00PM.” Your teenager goes completely nuts and screams about how all the cool kids’ parents let them stay out until 12:00, etc. By suggesting 8:00PM you have completely changed the dynamic of the negotiation. Your teenager has completely given up on staying out until midnight and is now willing to take whatever they can get to stay out as long as you will let them. Now anything you suggest that is later than 8:00pm sound reasonable. In negotiating that is how an extreme anchor works. It makes anything short of what you originally suggested appear reasonable and a compromise.
This is why I believe “The Green New Deal” is an extreme anchor. Its supporters don’t really think they are going to get everything in “The Green New Deal,” but they will get some of it. What they are really trying to do is shift the country to the left. Anything they get will appear reasonable compared to what they say they want.
I suggest the Republicans try a similar tactic. They should make elimination of the Federal Income Tax and shrinking of the Federal government their party platform. They should list Federal agencies and programs they want to eliminate. This extreme anchor will drive the Democrats and the Media nuts, but anything less than their original plan will appear reasonable.