03/04/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Fixing Budget Would Require Joint Political Suicide

It's the holy grail of Washington politics: a federal budget that generates ample funds through a simpler and fairer tax code, defuses the spending time bomb for health and retirement programs, and supports the nation's economy during the worst downturn in generations.

President Obama and congressional Democrats have high ambitions to chart such a course, and say that they hope to strike a grand bargain with Republicans to bring taxes and government spending back into balance over the next few years, taming budget deficits that threaten to spiral out of control.