Pessimism abounds at annual fiscal 'summit'

Associated Press + More

By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Some of Washington's highest-ranking budget players can agree on one thing: A "grand bargain" this year to close the nation's chronic budget deficits seems like a long shot.

That was the consensus at an annual Washington "fiscal summit" thrown by billionaire deficit hawk Pete Peterson.

But barely 100 days into President Barack Obama's second term — supposedly a time of peak possibility in the capital — a squad of Washington's budget big shots was decidedly downbeat on the chances of following up January's big tax increase on the wealthy with a follow-up deal.

The cause for the gridlock is a familiar impasse over tax increases. GOP resolve against tax hikes has only intensified since Obama in January extracted a $600 billion-plus tax boost on the wealthy over 10 years.

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