24/7 Wall St.

World currencyMicrosoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) sometimes fights its battles against Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) in public. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer points to the superiority of his products over those of his rivals. Such comments do not sway consumers or investors, who have made up their own minds about the corporation. The same principle holds true in the war between Republican members of Congress and the Obama administration. Hardly anyone listens to either side, because their positions are expected. The public only becomes increasingly cynical as each party grows more bitter in its attacks on the other.

Republicans introduced a new proposal calling for tax increases that would total $800 billion, which is about half of the Obama plan. Some of these would come from cuts in entitlements. The rich (those who make more than $250,000 a year) would not be taxed more…

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