Republican leaders in Congress on Friday named six lawmakers to the bipartisan debt-reduction commission that President Obama created. The presence of antitax hard-liners among them suggests the hurdles to forging agreement by December on proposals to arrest the unsustainable growth of projected deficits.
But in a joint statement announcing their respective picks, neither Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader, nor his House counterpart, Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, explicitly made opposition to tax increases a condition of their party's participation in the commission, as some Republicans had urged.
Skepticism is high that Republicans would agree to raise revenues, or that Democrats would slash entitlement spending, in an election year with control of Congress in the balance. But many economists said a mix of tax increases and reductions in the fast-growing entitlement benefit programs - Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security - was essential, as soon as the economy fully recovered, to avert a fiscal calamity in the coming decade.
So much for all those passionate defenses of Obama during the campaign from Times reporters seething against  nasty Republican accusations that Obama would raise taxes on everyone, not just "the rich." Now Times reporters are practically begging him to do so.
Calmes rarely fails to suggest former President Bush and the past Republican Congress are most to blame for the Obama administration's horrible budget deficits.
While Republicans have strongly criticized Democrats for the roughly $1 trillion in stimulus spending and tax cuts since Mr. Obama took office, many nonpartisan studies have attributed much of the nation's current debt to revenues lost because of the recession and to the policies of the past decade when Republicans controlled both the White House and Congress, including tax cuts, spending on wars and a new Medicare prescription drug benefit.