Most of what I read these days suggests that the no-deal automatic tax rate increases as of Jan. 1, 2013, are almost inevitable. Then, there will be a subsequent effort to lower tax rates for the non-rich. If the Republicans stymie President Obama's efforts, he will try to place the blame on them alone.

So what would happen if the Republicans couple the spending cuts they seek with the tax rate reductions on the 98 percent that President Obama and his Democrats seek? If that coupled offering does not get passed, who is to blame? Each side will blame the other, and both will be correct. But this kind of compromise is exactly what is needed to mitigate the coming cliff/mountain disasters that we truly and clearly do face.

It seems that the only way, politically, to get to such a compromise is to let the Jan. 1 changes occur, then get busy on rational adjustments to both spending and revenue generation in a composite bill that will significantly increase the growth prospects for the overall economy. Then both sides can claim political victory, and we can get on with serious economic recovery.

John Nagel