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Republicans should announce “the sequester won’t be so bad” and shut up, and science tells us why.
Obama, the Dems, liberal pundits, the press, and even John Boehner are running around yelling about how horrible the sequester will be.
In some deep recesses of our minds, we agree. “Oh, my God! We’re all going to do die!”
Fear-mongering only works in the future because, in short, nothing is as bad (or as good) as we think it will be when we think about it.
Meet Affective Forecasting and Your Impact Bias
That’s a shorthand explanation of affective forecasting—or predicting how happy or sad something will make us. Marketers and politicians want us to predict our future feelings about some event and to apply impact bias to that prediction.
Impact bias is the tendency to overestimate how good we’ll feel if we get what we hope for or how bad we’ll feel if we don’t. Here’s a great, short video by Dan Gilbert explaining the importance of affective forecasting.
Obama uses the science of psychology better than anyone, and the Republicans refuse to even consider it a science. This is one of the reasons why Obama beats the GOP at almost every turn.
The Sequester Won’t Be As Bad As Any Alternative
If the Republicans try to strike a deal with Obama, they will do so under the duress of extreme impact bias. In other words, their imaginations will make monsters of the sequester, and their minds will agree to a deal that mostly benefits Obama.
Obama and his advisers study the science of human behavior. Republicans don’t. In every negotiation, Obama has knowledge that Republicans lack – knowledge he uses to take advantage of the GOP.
The losers in these negotiations are the public in general and the young in particular as the GOP trades their future wealth and choices to the President.
So think about something else and let the sequester happen. It won’t be nearly as bad as you think it will when you think about it.