Fix fiscal cliff by repairing GOP

Your recent editorial ("Obama's mandate," Nov. 7) where you recommend that President Barack Obama "needs to act immediately to persuade Congress to extend the deadline for sequestration another six months" is almost laughable if it wasn't so sad. Lest anyone forget, sequestration is to take place because Congress has failed to do its job and come to a compromise agreement whereby they put the interest of the American people above their own partisan bickering. They failed to come up with a budget agreement after the Bowles/Simpson Commission Report received only 11 votes out of 18 instead of the 14 required for a "supermajority" (Rep. Paul Ryan being one of the dissenting votes). The Bowles/Simpson Commission first met in April of 2010, issuing its final report December 1, 2010. Yet you seem to think Congress hasn't had enough time to deal with the issues.

The only option Mr. Obama has is to let the Bush tax cuts expire so that the Republicans can then vote for a tax decrease. The Republicans fail to realize they have already voted for a tax increase because the Bush tax cuts are supposed to expire, thereby initiating an increase. How can Mr. Obama do otherwise with House Speaker John Boehner and his colleagues vowing not to raise taxes on people who make more than $1 million and proposing to extend the tax rates for everyone another year with Mr. Obama vowing to veto such a bill. That is Mr. Boehner's idea of rising above the dysfunction and doing, "the right thing together for our country in a bipartisan way." He doesn't mention what effect this would have on the deficit that he will nonetheless blame on Mr. Obama.

You seem to castigate Mr. Obama for, "allowing himself to become entangled in the partisan warfare of Congress." How could he not be drawn into it with "mainstream" Republicans like Richard Mourdock (just because he failed to get elected doesn't mean his thinking isn't "mainstream" Republican; he won the Republican primary) who believe, bipartisanship means Democrats joining Republicans by embracing the ideology of the right-wing conservatives? We have had the Senate minority leader encouraging the electorate before the 2010 midterm elections to, "help us finish the job." When asked by the National Journal what job he was referring to, he responded, "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president." Well Mitch McConnell, how is that working out for you?

I am not the only one who believes that Republicans are more entrenched in there no tax orthodoxy than the Democrats are on spending (see the book by Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution and Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute entitled "It's Even Worse Than It Looks").

The Republicans join in a phalanx for avariciousness and seem entrenched in a cultural bias of the past. They fail to realize that not only is the American populace becoming more diverse, but through that diversity, along with technological change, cultural change is also taking place. Allen Wheelis (a psychoanalyst) writes in "The Question for Identity," published in 1958, "To remain open to a changing culture and also adapted to it implies the capacity for characterological change. ... Modern man cannot recapture an identity out the past; for his old identity was not lost, but outgrown. Identity is not, therefore to be found; it is to be created and achieved." This implies that personal growth should not be seen as being necessitated by cultural change in order to achieve balance, but that personal growth should be embraced.

Failure to do otherwise would, as Dr. Irvin D. Yalom writes in "Existential Psychotherapy," be "maladaptive and rigid behavior that precludes personal growth," which, "is by definition, neurotic behavior."

Michael Baseman, Baltimore

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