As if expectations were not low enough for the special congressional committee charged with writing a deficit-reduction deal, they seem to be falling by the day as the two parties harden their positions on spending and taxes. Last week began with contradictory markers from President Obama and Speaker John Boehner. Boehner reiterated that Republicans would oppose any tax increases, and then Obama, newly aggressive, warned that he would veto any measure that would trim Medicare benefits without also raising taxes on the wealthy.