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Time to get to work

If there is a message that we think all Americans would want Congress to hear at this time, it would be along the lines of “you had your break (the election) and now it’s time to get to work.”

That sounds simple. But as we are all well aware, the devil is in the details.

Take the talk about the impeding fiscal cliff. Coming out of the wrestling match between congressional Democrats and Republicans, it was a “kick it down the road” pact that triggers an economic time bomb — automatic cuts in federal spending and tax hikes aimed at curbing the federal deficit will go off Jan. 1 if something isn’t done.

Just about everyone inside and out of Congress sees this as, to put it mildly, a destructive situation.

It’s up to this Lame Duck Congress to get the job done.

That means coming up with a sensible combination of increases in revenue and targeted tax cuts. The situation also calls for working together and not just political posturing.

We would like to think that while the election didn’t dramatically alter the political landscape down in Washington — in re-electing President Barack Obama to a second term in the White House, keeping the Senate in the hands of the Democrats and Republicans in control of the House — nevertheless the electorate last week sent a message that demands movement forward under this president’s watch.

That includes following what the president is proposing when it comes to defusing this fiscal bomb — balance. President Obama rightfully sees that you can’t simply cut your way to an answer — there are programs and services that too many Americans depend upon.

Any solution needs revenue increases as well.

This means that both chambers of Congress need to sit down with the president and thrash out a solution in which both sides give up and gain something.

After all, as is often said, “Politics is the art of compromise.”

We all got some early indications that, for example, House Speaker John Boehner might be admitting that there is a need for a change in approach. He’s suggested that there’s some room for tax hikes to go along with the necessary cuts.

Let’s hope this means that ideological stances are going to give way to practicality and that both sides realize that their position can’t be the same proposals they’ve been pitching since 2010.

It’s time to put the interests of the nation above partisan politics.

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