_The Washington Post_ [notices](http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/among-gop-an-ironclad-ant...) the Republican Party's ironclad opposition to tax increases and blames it (partially) for the current budget impasse:
>The GOP’s three-decade-old campaign against taxes has clearly had a significant impact. Neither major party would advocate a return to the 1970s, when people earning more than $200,000 a year faced a top rate of 70 percent. But the top rate is now half that and, partly because of the recent recession, tax collections have fallen to their lowest level as a share of the economy in 60 years.
>Today, the spiraling debt ranks well ahead of too-high taxes on the list of economic concerns. And the GOP’s hard line on the issue stands, alongside Democratic resistance to cutting federal retirement benefits, as the biggest obstacle to a bipartisan agreement to tackle that problem.
You can count Democratic resistance to entitlement cuts as an obstacle to a bipartisan debt deal, but I wouldn't put them in the same ballpark as Republican opposition to tax increases. In fact, I wouldn't even put them in the same _game_. For starters, the Democratic Party has been willing to adjust entitlements when necessary. To use a recent example, the Affordable Care Act reduced Medicare spending by half-a-trillion dollars, and imposed new rules, standards and requirements aimed at cutting costs making the program more efficient. Yes, Democrats oppose privatization plans for Social Security, but for good reason: the program is structurally sound, privatization unneeded, and more importantly, represents a long-standing commitment to retirement security for millions of Americans.
Indeed, most of Democratic opposition to entitlement cuts is grounded in the facts of the matter; it's not that Medicare is untouchable, but that blunt cuts to Medicare spending aren't very helpful when it comes to reducing the growth rate of health care spending (i.e., the real problem). This is in huge contrast to Republicans, who possess a nearly faith-based opposition to tax increases and a categorical preference for tax cuts. Since **Reagan,** tax cuts have been the Republican answer to every imaginable economic situation. Is the economy booming? Tax cuts. Did we balance the budget? Tax cuts. Are we in a recession? Tax cuts. Etc, etc.
I'd also be remiss if I didn't note the most important fact in this discussion: GOP tax cuts [remain](http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3036) the main driver of short and medium term deficits, and repealing them would stabilize the debt for a decade. For this budget impasse, blame isn't a two-way street; as long as Republicans refuse to consider tax increases -- and actively push for more tax cuts -- a serious negotiation on deficit reduction is impossible.
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