If there is common ground among economists, it is that the next step in fiscal policy should be focused on reining in long-term spending on entitlements programs, particularly Medicare, instead of continuing debates over short-term spending. But such a grand bargain has been elusive, caught in a fight over Obama's desire for more tax revenue and Republican opposition to more tax increases.Obama and some Republicans are trying to move the process with phone calls and a dinner here and a luncheon there. Next week, the president plans to address Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate in separate meetings to see, as he put it Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address, "if we can untangle some of the gridlock."
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