Acknowledging their weak bargaining position, the Republicans should go first and unequivocally accept rate increases for the wealthiest two percent. Then the Republicans would have the credibility to argue that they have done their part, and demand that the Democrats put forward a serious plan for entitlement reform.

Imagine if the Republicans offered this deal. The dynamic of the debate could change completely.

Instead of all the attention being on the Republicans, their unwillingness to ask a bit more from the wealthiest among us, and the Norquist pledge, the spotlight would shine on the Democrats. Are they really willing to cut spending? Are they really willing to reform entitlements?

All of the sudden, the Democrats would lose their main talking point — a talking point which they have been employing, successfully, for over a decade.

All of the sudden, the Republicans would look like the reasonable adults, putting country before politics — which they would be doing. The onus would be on the Democrats to match their seriousness.