In a new editorial, the Chicago Tribune questions the president’s devotion to a “balanced” approach for addressing the fiscal cliff negotiations.

Last Wednesday, in an editorial titled “Democrats, your turn — Commit to spending cuts,” we urged Team Obama to acknowledge that the growth in domestic spending and entitlements has to diminish. House Speaker John Boehner had violated one of the most sacrosanct Republican principles — opposition to tax hikes — by offering to include new revenue in a cliff-averse deal. We urged Democrats to show similar courage.

But the president’s reaction, delivered by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, is to cut total spending by a meager $400 million over 10 years while raising a net $1.6 trillion in new taxes. Obama also proposes tens of billions in spending on stimulus projects and continuance of long-term unemployment insurance and the supposedly temporary payroll tax cut.

While barely glancing at entitlement meltdowns, Obama insists that the new entitlement bearing his name, Obamacare, not be touched. He still demands that any deal not only raise revenue from high earners, as Boehner offered the day after the election, but must achieve that by raising their tax rates.

As we’ve said before, we wish Obama would take the money Boehner offered and run. Republicans make a strong argument that increasing revenue by limiting deductions, rather than sharply hiking rates, would have less of an impact on economic growth.

Yes, Obama campaigned on those tax rate increases. But he campaigned just as fervently on the need for a “balanced” mix of revenue hikes and spending cuts. With his obsession on tax rates rather than on debt and entitlements, the president does not look focused on finding a two-party solution for crises that two parties created.

Americans who voted for Obama reflect that call for balance more than his ultimatums have: Politico reported Monday that a poll for a moderate Democratic think tank, Third Way, found 85 percent of Obama voters favoring higher taxes on the wealthy: “Yet 41 percent who supported the Democratic incumbent want to get control of the deficit mostly by cutting spending, with only some tax increases, while another 41 percent want to solve it mostly with tax increases and only some spending cuts. Just 5 percent of Obama supporters favor tax increases alone to solve the deficit, half the number who back an approach that relies entirely on spending cuts.”

The long-term problem is a problem of government overspending.