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What is a Grand Bargain?

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It seems that everywhere one turns, Congress, state legislators, and local elected officials are making “Grand Bargains.” So, what is a Grand Bargain?

A “bargain” is, generally speaking (in “dictionary” language), an agreement by one party to buy and another to sell. (There must also be “consideration,” but that is another topic of discussion.) See definitions in the Free Dictionary and in the free, online Merriam-Webster.

Grand” means, simply speaking, large, in size or scope.
See definitions in the Free Dictionary and in the free, online Merriam-Webster.

Some say it all began with Congress and President Obama and tax and debt Grand Bargains, and we’ve seen it here in Oregon with land use and large corporations and the state, but whenever someone says “that’s where it all began,” put on your Skeptics Hat. Grand Bargains may have begun with Moses and the Ten Commandments, or maybe with Noah or Job, or the Easter Island inhabitants, Stonehenge, or with the Big Bang, perhaps the grandest bargain of them all. And then again, maybe it began with Ptolemy, and his Great Treatise.

In any event, whenever anyone begins to talk about making a Grand Bargain, it never hurts to ask who is giving what to whom in exchange for how much – and, of course, what’s in it for you.