http://news.yahoo.com/democrats-stiffen-spine-against-trimmi...President Barack Obama's re-election has stiffened Democrats' spine against cutting popular benefit programs such as Medicare and Social Security. Their new resolve could become as big a hurdle to a deal that would skirt crippling tax increases and spending cuts in January as Republicans' resistance to raising tax rates on the wealthy.So they want to up taxes on the rich and leave entitlements alone all the while ignoring the unsustainable growth in entitlement spending. How responsible. Those negotiations, however, were conducted on a playing field that favored Republicans. It was less than a year after Obama's self-described "shellacking" in the 2010 elections and the president was desperate to win an increase in the government's borrowing cap and avoid a government default on its debt that should shatter financial markets. Also, Obama still faced re-election in 2012.Now conditions favor Obama.He decisively won re-election and Republicans seem fearful of being tagged with the blame if an impasse results in the government going over the fiscal cliff. Obama and Democrats already are portraying Republicans as hostage-takers willing let tax rates rise on everyone if the lower Bush-era tax rates are not also extended for the top 2 percent to 3 percent of earners — those with incomes above $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for joint filers.The new balance of power means that Democrats who once would have acquiesced reluctantly to GOP demands for stiff benefit cuts are now balking at ideas such as chained CPI or an increase in the Medicare retirement age, as well as demanding GOP concessions to higher taxes.The Dems think they have the ace in the hole so they don't need to make concessions. It's too easy to turn the tables. GOP comes out and says okay to tax increases on the top 2% so long as entitlement reforms get done. How in the world can the Democrats NOT think entitlement reform is needed??? I don't get it. Grape
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