President Obama must hold the line in any negotiations with Republicans over the budget deficit.

We just had an election where the two parties laid out their plans for the budget. The Democrats campaigned against cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security and for increasing taxes on those at the very top. The Republicans campaigned on cutting domestic programs and keeping tax breaks for the rich.

The Democrats won, the GOP lost, but now the Republicans are insisting that Obama accept the same proposals the voters rejected at the polls.

Republicans should accept the fact that the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans are a luxury the country can no longer afford, while Obama should listen to the will of the American people -- and insist upon the humane solutions that are available for bringing the budget into line.

That means no cuts to Social Security or Medicare or Medicaid.

But we should cut the deficit in a myriad ways that increase the public good.

First, we should impose a carbon tax penalizing greenhouse gas emissions, which could generate $80 billion dollars a year and provide a powerful incentive for companies to clean up and avert catastrophic climate change.

Second, we should close corporate loopholes. We should prohibit companies from parking their profits in offshore tax havens, and we shouldn't give them tax breaks to ship jobs overseas. Closing such loopholes would save us up to $100 billion a year.

Third, we need to provide drug treatment instead of incarceration to many prisoners who are in for drug crimes. This would save the country billions in prison costs.

Fourth, now that the Iraq War has ended, and we are committed to reducing our forces in Afghanistan, the military budget can be safely reduced. Many analysts agree that we can and should reduce our strategic nuclear arsenal, for instance, and there is no need to keep making Cold War weapons systems.

Finally, those at the very top should have to pay their fair share of taxes. During the Eisenhower years, the marginal tax rate on the highest earners was 91 percent. Today, it is 35 percent. Eliminating the Bush tax cut would raise that rate to only 39 percent, and the wealthy can certainly afford that.

There is a fair and decent way around the fiscal cliff. And Obama should insist on it.

Darryl Lorenzo Wellington is a poet and journalist living in Santa Fe, N.M. He can be reached at

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It's finally setting in: Trump is Trump and he’s not going to change because of winning the nomination.

The new head of the Environmental Protection has a history of suing the agency for trying to do its job.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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