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“Debt reduction should focus on spending cuts. Raising taxes at a time when our economy remains fragile takes us in the wrong direction. That won’t create jobs in Nebraska,” Mr. Nelson told reporters Wednesday.

Freshman Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, another vulnerable Democrat facing a tough race next year, also sided with the GOP on keeping tax increases off the table. “I don’t believe in tax hikes. We have to start living within our means in this country,” he said.

Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana isn’t about to vote for any tax increase that whacks her state’s dominant oil industry as Mr. Obama has proposed. Sens. Jon Tester of Montana, Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan also face competitive races that will make voting for higher taxes in a weak economy more than problematic.

With just 53 Senate Democrats and so many likely desertions, the numbers are running against Majority Leader Harry Reid’s hopes of mustering the 60 votes needed to cut off a GOP filibuster against any tax-increasing budget bill.

There are many growth incentives we can adopt quickly to get the U.S. economy up and running again at full throttle, but burdening struggling job creators with another $2 trillion in taxes is not one of them.

Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and former chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.