There is still some debate as to whose idea it was (President Obama‘s or congressional Republicans) to set up a time bomb that would cut a large chunk of spending from both social and defense programs, lest lawmakers prevent it from happening with a deal. It goes off Friday.
In the petty arguments over this self-inflicted wound, there are merits, or demerits, on both sides. The Republicans are right when they say that the sequester was Mr. Obama’s idea, in the summer of 2011, and that he agreed to a deal that was all spending cuts, no tax hikes. He is correct that he hoped the sequester would never go into effect but would be replaced by a 10-year bargain that would raise revenue and slow the growth of entitlement costs. He is correct, too, on the larger point: Such a deal is what’s needed, and the Republicans are wrong to resist further revenue hikes.
But if that’s what’s needed, why is Mr. Obama not leading the way to a solution? …
He is the president; his party colleagues are increasingly intransigent on entitlement reform; and it will be his — and their — progressive goals that suffer most if the nation continues on its current path.