Regarding the Dec. 22 news article “On brink of ‘cliff,’ economy is growing”:

The inability of the executive and legislative branches of the federal government to reach agreement imperils our economy. President Obama needs to recognize that the GOP’s recent limited shift on tax rates and raising revenue is remarkable, and the GOP needs to recognize that the Senate and the presidency are held by the Democrats and that their views about the economy must be accommodated.

Meanwhile, both sides are demonstrating an indifference to ordinary Americans, who will see taxes increase and their savings and pensions evaporate in the likely stock-market reaction to a failure to reach agreement. Jobs will be lost as the economy struggles. Instead of leaders who play to the base of their parties, we need leaders who think about what is best for the country.

Ian Markham, Alexandria

The writer is dean and president of Virginia Theological Seminary

Regarding the paralysis in Congress, current members should be reminded of the Founders’ ability  to overcome differences and compromise positions to accomplish something for the greater good (i.e., the Constitution). It might be helpful to place on each congressional desk a comment Benjamin Franklin made in the summer of 1787:

“When a broad table is to be made, and the edges of planks do not fit, the artist takes a little from both, and makes a good joint. In like manner here, both sides must part with some of their demands.”

William H. Hudnut III, Chevy Chase

The writer, a Republican, represented Indiana in the House of Representatives from 1973 to 1975 and was mayor of Indianapolis from 1976 to 1991.