The "fiscal cliff" of Jan. 15, 2013, is almost here.

The large budget deficit is forcing a discussion of revenues and expenditures.

If an agreement to eliminate $1.2 trillion of deficit over the next 10 years is not reached, then there will be spending cuts of $900 billion in the next decade from about 20 percent of the budget. Further reductions of 9 percent per year over the next decade would be implemented on the already impacted non-mandated programs such as defense, education, national parks, the FBI, the EPA, medical research and many others.

President Obama is calling for increased taxes on people with incomes over $250,000 a year.

Rep. John Boehner from Ohio, the Republican leader of the House, has steadfastly resisted any call for new taxes or restoration to the pre-Bush tax levels of 2001.

Mr. Boehner is in agreement with Grover Norquist, a Harvard-educated mid-westerner who founded and leads Americans for Tax Reform. This group works to limit the size and cost of government at any level. They would like to "starve the beast" (the federal government) so it would "drown in a bathtub of water."

He has succeeded in getting almost 285 congressmen to sign a pledge not to raise taxes.

President George W. Bush sided with Mr. Norquist in cutting taxes substantially while fighting two wars on borrowed money. Probably Mr. Norquist, a leader in the Tea Party, would like to take the country back to conditions that existed in the late 1800s.

There was no Social Security, Medicare, Federal Income Tax or Securities Exchange Commission. Most of the people were poor and struggling, while a few enjoyed riches untold. At some point, Mr. Norquist may lose some of his influence.

There is a liberal tradition in the Republican Party that is very valid and has played a good role for the country.

President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act. President Eisenhower handled desegregation in Little Rock, Ark., and oversaw the Interstate Highway System. Nelson Rockefeller, governor of New York (1958-1974) expanded state services in the areas of education, transportation, housing, welfare and environmental control.

I believe we need to evaluate our political beliefs and decide what kind of world we wish to leave to our families. Then we should talk with our congressmen.

I believe sequestration is not an acceptable option. Losing so much so that a few may over thrive is intolerable and will undoubtedly weaken the middle class much further.

Charles B. Buckley

Manchester Twp.