Obama is going to have to cut entitlements to get a deal

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A Republican offer to allow a top rate increase in exchange for entitlement cuts would turn the spotlight on the Democrats' entitlement dilemma. If President Obama takes the position of many in his party -- AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka, for example, has written, "NO to cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and YES to fair taxes on the wealthiest 2 percent"-- there will be no deal. But that would not stop the Republicans from saying right now: While we do not support raising taxes on anyone, especially in this weak economy, we will accept the president's top-bracket rate increase in exchange for trillion-dollar cuts in the big three entitlement programs. 
Doing that would forestall the Democratic attack that the GOP will not bend on tax rates. Instead, it would be the president who's not bending. Of course, Obama -- and many in the media -- would find other grounds to attack Republicans. But since the GOP is ultimately going to relent on the top tax rate, why not do it when it has some benefit?
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That would be a fight the Democrats would probably like initially, at least.   But it would also be one that would show they are not serious about dealing with the deficit.

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