Must balance budget by cutting spending

I am worried. Since the fiscal cliff represents only a modest increase in federal revenue via taxes, I am greatly worried that even this will not be implemented. It appears that neither party is serious about avoiding or even minimizing the upcoming financial disaster that the U.S. has already created.

We need to balance the U.S. budget now, which only can be done by cutting all expenses by about $1 trillion for the next year, thus eliminating any further borrowing.

Additionally, we need to find ways to increase revenue, other than taxes, and use the funds to start paying off the national debt or else be prepared to give up our nation to other countries.

David Brusiee

Pleasanton

Willing to suffer more so rich pay share

I am not worried about Congress taking us over the fiscal cliff. The rich must pay their fair share. Period.

If this means we all have to temporarily suffer a bit more because we fly over the fiscal cliff, I say bring it on.

The outcome will be that more poor people and more of those of us in the shrinking middle class will realize sooner rather than later that stronger labor, stronger support for public education and reasonably regulated capitalism is the long-term answer. Not the status quo.

Janell Hampton

San Leandro

Obama is one who will take us over fiscal cliff

The solicitation for responses on the topic of the fiscal cliff asks the wrong question. It assumes that only Congress can force a plunge over the precipice. That is plainly wrong.

President Barack Obama, through his surrogate, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, has indicated his willingness to drive the economy over the cliff if he doesn't get his way.

He wants tax rate hikes on those earning more than $250,000 annually, even though House Speaker John Boehner has offered new revenues in the form of closed loopholes and reduced deductions.

The president's intractability flies in the face of his own call for compromise in dealing with this issue.

I suspect Obama sees this as a win-win for himself: Either he gets his way on tax increases or Republicans get the blame. And this newspaper's wording of the question seems to echo this sentiment.

The president's "my way or the highway" stance is a horrible way to govern.

This is, after all, a democratic republic. House members were elected by the people of their districts and are duty bound to represent their interests.

Chuck Hoffman

Newark

No one in Congress has guts to do it

No, because no one in Congress has the guts to go over the cliff.

C. Harper

Antioch

Obama must call bluff, increase rich's taxes

The term cliff denotes catastrophe, which is intentional. Until a few learned economists weighed in, the media and some Washington insiders had us all in a panic. Wanting a grand bargain, which would cut deeply into the safety net, haste was urgently courted.

We now see that President Barack Obama has all the cards and can easily return our tax rates to the Bill Clinton years, which were so prosperous.

We also learn that taxing the rich does not destroy the job creators, nor lead to economic slowdown. Clinton, twice, had to call Congress' bluff. Now it is Obama's time to do the same.

Anne Spanier

Alameda

No reason to be concerned at all

There is no reason to be concerned about President Barack Obama taking us over the cliff -- it's a good thing.

First, it will increase taxes, and the election showed a majority of Americans favor higher taxes. It's patriotic to contribute to the welfare of our country, and in the interest of fairness no taxpayer should be left behind when paying their fair share.

We should also welcome the cuts in military spending.

Reducing American imperialism has long been an Obama goal, and the money we save from a weaker military will go a long way toward offsetting the trillion dollars of new debt that Obama is adding every year.

Although some suggest that going over the cliff could lead to a recession, let's remember how Obama promised that Obamacare could get us out of the recession. So, any recession caused by the cliff will be muted as Obamacare, with its new taxes, kicks in to stimulate the economy.

Dick Patterson

El Cerrito

Will be voted out of office if it does

Congress knows that if the fiscal cliff should happen, they will be voted out of office.

Jim Meeks

Castro Valley

GOP must deal now or risk wrath

The refusal of the Republicans in the House of Representatives to deal on the fiscal cliff is clearly a matter of their protecting their own donor base, not small businesses.

Their claim that increasing rates on taxable income over $250,000 will hamper the hiring of additional personnel by small business is patently false. The more employees a company hires, the larger the percentage of business income not subject to tax.

Why should the wealthy pay little tax or nothing at all?

The top 1 percent has too much money with which to engage in political mischief, and though raising rates on this small segment of the population will not discourage them entirely, they might be less inclined to support representatives who want to balance the budget on the backs of the middle class and the working poor by assaulting social safety nets like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

The president and the Democrats won this last election handily; elections have consequences. Republicans need to deal now, or risk the wrath of the electorate in 2014.

Marilyn Silva

Hayward

A compromise will be reached

The counterpoint to this week's topic must also be, "Why am I confident Congress will settle before the fiscal cliff is reached?"

We have lived through many logjams in the legislative process in Washington. The current disagreement over tax rates should come as no surprise when you look at the many brinkmanship clashes we've had in the past.

As in past conflicts, there will be compromises neither side wants but will make because there is not a real choice, rather a pragmatic decision to make here. Undoubtedly, Congress will make this agreement just in time and with just enough getting done to get them home for the holidays.

This is what politics is all about in America. We compromise and live to fight another day. Our democratic processes are messy, but still marginally functional.

Fredrick R. Ford

Walnut Creek