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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Fiscal cliff solution: Ignore the hard-right and hard-left

Grand bargain shrinks as Congress nearing U.S. budget deadline

The White House's Kent Conrad problem

The worst part about this situation is that it is clear there are enough combined Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate to pass a big deal that would begin the long-neglected process of dealing with entitlement and tax reform - but Speaker John Boehner seems unwilling to walk away from the Tea Party wing of the party to make it happen.

During the 2011 debt ceiling fight, President Barack Obama, Sen. Harry Reid and Rep. Nancy Pelosi got enough Democrats to sign off on a deal that had the hard-left squawking. And when they began to squawk this time when a modest change to Social Security became part of the package, they were able to do it again. If Boehner is willing to do the same thing, a deal can be made. Period. 

The types of long-term fiscal problems we face can only be solved in a sensible way when both parties are willing to hold hands and jump off the political ledge together. And that means ignoring the folks who insist on having 100 percent of what they want.

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