1-These negotiations are not about balancing the budget, they are about reducing the deficit.
2-Cutting SS benefits does not reduce the deficit, nor lower the debt.
3-Cutting Medicare benefits will not reduce the deficit, nor lower the debt.
4-If the main goal of these negotiations was really about deficit reduction or lowering the debt, then both sides should allow January 1st to come and go without a deal, as the sequester would do more than any negotiated deal would do along those lines. Also, the tax rate hikes would be even more severe on the top 2%.......which is a fantastic idea.
5-Those top tier tax rates are going up........and there is no stopping that train now. The only question now is whether they will go up on all income, or just income over 250K per year.