Fiscal cliff negotiations by Republicans offer too many false choices.

A vigorous debt reduction program is the wrong way to go when we have a high jobless rate. A deep austerity program will reduce the federal government contribution to the economy leading to more joblessness and reduced tax revenue — all factors that will increase our debt and negate any savings from the cuts.

Deficit reduction should come from increased revenues and economic growth. The last thing we need to do is to panic needlessly about a perceived debt problem.

Medicare reform is the wrong way to fix the federal deficit. Medicare and Social Security are funded by dedicated payroll taxes that cover current Medicare and Social Security costs.

According to economist Paul Krugman, the Bush tax cuts add the most money to the deficit. A responsible and measured rolling back of the Bush tax cuts for all citizens is the best way to address the deficit, and rolling back the cuts for the top 2 percent is a good starting point.

Republicans will struggle as a political force as long as their ideology leads to bad economics and does not serve the majority of Americans.

Peter Konieczko

Augusta