LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Test Obama’s vow of a cliff compromise

When it comes to the nation’s “fiscal cliff,” congressional Republicans should play the role of “The Godfather” and make President Obama an offer he can’t refuse without suffering severe consequences.

For example, the Republicans could present a package containing serious spending cuts together with a proposal not to renew the George W. Bush tax cuts for families making not $250,000, but $500,000 or more. If Mr. Obama rejects this compromise, Republicans could show that Mr. Obama’s insistence on raising taxes on the rich is not about fixing the nation’s fiscal mess but instead is a purely political maneuver designed to divide congressional Republicans and thereby weaken their party.

Mr. Obama says he is “open to ideas” — as long, of course, as they include tax increases on his terms and exclude any meaningful spending cuts and any entitlement reform. If Mr. Obama rejects the Republicans’ offer, congressional Democrats intending to seek re-election are likely to be blamed if the president’s rejection of the deal triggers another recession. Those Democrats, therefore, will be faced with a choice to join with the Republicans or go over the fiscal cliff with Mr. Obama.

HARRISON E. MCCANDLISH

Alexandria

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