Congressman Himes is reported recently to have downgraded the fiscal cliff to the "fiscal ramp." Washington Democratic spokespersons (Reed, Pelosi, Durbin, Dean) are all stonewalling any attempt to attach spending cuts to their efforts to increase tax rates on those earning over $250,000. The president states that he is "open to new ideas." What does that mean? It all sounds like the "good cop, bad cop" game.

What is clear is that the administration does not want to anger its base by proposing any reforms in "entitlements." Is it just possible that this strategy is just smoke and glass? Democrats know that more income is required, and increasing rates on the top 2 perceent will not provide nearly enough of that.

"Growing the economy," the Republican response, is political pie in the sky. The only way to deal with the income shortage is to allow the current lower tax rates to expire on everyone. Its called "bite the bullet." The administration's problem is one of PR. They have to make it look like the other party did it. This reminds me of the dilemma facing a group of young boys challenging each other to jump off the high diving board. No one wants to go first, and the last can always back out.

Sequestration is going to impose spending cuts on the government especially the military. No meaningful spending cuts can be made without including the military. Yes, it may affect our readiness. We will have to assume a slightly increased risk in order to impose some spending restraints on the government. The administration's goals have been to cut military spending, increase taxes on "millionaires" and avoid entitlement reform. By doing nothing at the present time, they will have accomplished their goals. Forget any "grand bargain."

Warren P. Joblin