I was dismayed that The Post regarded House Speaker John Boehner’s remarks on taxes as somehow suggesting a willingness to compromise on the looming fiscal cliff [“Boehner opens door to a deal,” front page, Nov. 8]. His exact words were that he is willing to consider higher tax revenue “as a byproduct of a growing economy, energized by a simpler, cleaner, fairer tax code, with fewer loopholes, and lower tax rates for all”.

But this is Mitt Romney’s tax plan — cut tax rates, limit deductions and then assume that a surge in economic growth will magically produce higher revenue. Why is it “conciliatory” for Mr. Boehner to express a willingness to adopt Mr. Romney’s tax plan, a plan firmly rooted in Arthur Laffer’s fantasy land, where tax cuts pay for themselves?

Moreover, Mr. Boehner’s willingness to consider this so-called compromise is contingent on Democrats’ willingness to cut entitlement spending. This, too, is a fantasy. Why should Democrats agree to a plan that alienates AARP when Republicans won’t agree to anything that alienates Grover Norquist?

Mr. Boehner’s remarks were designed to create the illusion of flexibility, without the reality. Unfortunately the media seem to have fallen for his ruse.

Any real compromise on the budget is going to require that both Democrats and Republicans risk the wrath of their base. That means that Democrats need to accept cuts in Social Security and Medicare benefits, and it means that Republicans need to accept higher tax rates on the rich.

John Shea, Ellicott City

The writer served as a deputy assistant Treasury secretary from 2010 to 2011.