WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional Republicans' unyielding stand against income tax increases has caught President Barack Obama and his allies off guard.
The result is the spending-cuts-only approach to deficit reduction that Democrats wanted to avoid.
The events have dimmed hopes for broader efforts to start taming costly "entitlement" programs such as Medicare and Social Security.
Democrats thought House Republicans would accept some new tax revenues last month to minimize military cuts.
But Republicans seem more determined than ever to block tax increases on high incomes, whatever the political risk.
The latest round of deficit-reduction policy tilts more toward Republicans' wishes than many people would have expected.
Obama won re-election with a campaign that called for higher taxes on the rich. And the federal tax burden is low by historic standards.