President Barack Obama expects the Republicans to give into his tax-hike demands ("Progress elusive in fiscal talks," Dec. 14). "I'm pretty confident that Republicans would not hold middle-class taxes hostage in trying to protect tax cuts for high-income individuals," he told Barbara Walters in a recent interview.

However, now it seems Mr. Obama's busy party schedule can't accommodate the fiscal cliff talks.


Since returning from a trip to Southeast Asia on Nov. 12, Mr. Obama has managed to play three rounds of golf but has met only once face to face with House Speaker John A. Boehner, the man with whom he is trying to strike a deal on taxes and spending to prevent another recession.

With the deadline for averting the fiscal cliff less than three weeks away, the president's schedule this week is exceptionally light. But it does not include any time on the links with Mr. Boehner, who is also an avid golfer.

If Republicans don't go along with Mr. Obama's demands, taxes will go up on everybody and the GOP will be blamed for it. Mr. Obama will then push for a middle-class tax cut, for which he will get the credit, even though it will not really be a tax cut because it will only take us back to the rates we had all along after former president George W. Bush's tax cuts.

The Republicans should therefore do the unexpected and propose an across-the-board tax cut for everybody. In addition, they should call for a 10 percent across-the-board cut in spending with no exceptions.

Republicans should keep insisting that our debt problem is the result of increased spending by the current administration, not of falling revenues because of lower tax rates. The facts are on the side of the Republicans.

The unemployment rate is said to be down to 7.7 percent. These media manufactured numbers are not correct. President Obama is selling the American people on the belief that his policies are working. What is not being calculated is underemployment and the number of people who have stopped looking for work. When those people are added to the number of people currently looking for work the actual unemployment rate is more than 14 percent.

The majority of new jobs created by the Obama administration are government jobs. That's what's keeping the "official" unemployment number down. Every one of these government jobs is a direct taxpayer subsidy to the Democrat Party.

The Democrats keep telling us that we should go back to the Clinton era of prosperity. What they and the media never mention is that it was the Republicans, under House Majority Leader Newt Gingrich, who cut government spending. President Clinton fought the Republicans at every turn.

The other unpredictable thing Republicans need to do is repent of their free-spending ways. Not only should they take an oath to cut taxes, they should vow not to propose a single penny in new spending for at least 10 years.

Al Eisner, Silver Spring