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'Do President Obama and Democrats Want to Cut Spending?'

8:01 AM, May 9, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Fred Barnes writes in the Wall Street Journal:

Do President Obama and Democrats want to cut spending? There's not much evidence they do. They have acquiesced to some cuts—but only under political duress.

The importance of the spending issue escalated last Thursday with the start of budget negotiations between Democrats and Republicans under the direction of Vice President Joe Biden. The 2012 budget, an increase in the debt limit, and long-term reform of entitlements are all on the table.

The parties have very different goals. While Republicans want a cap on spending, Democrats favor a ceiling on the deficit. The distinction is significant. A spending cap is straightforward. But a cap on the deficit can be satisfied by raising taxes, which Democrats prefer.

To be sure, Mr. Obama frequently pays lip service to tackling spending. "We've got to comb through the budget and find every dime of savings that we can," he said at a town hall meeting last month in Reno. "We'll check under the cushions. Any program that's not working, we need to eliminate."

But neither the White House nor congressional Democrats have initiated any net reductions in spending. Not once since the election. Their strategy is to defer to Republicans, then denounce whatever cuts Republicans come up with.

Whole thing here.

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