Today’s Villager wisdom
Ruth Marcus fills us in on what constitutes “reasonable” now that the Republicans have proven themselves asses with their government shutdown. And, you guessed it, it’s time for Democrats to compromise and agree to cut “entitlements” in exchange for sequestration relief:
Both sides have an incentive here. For Republicans, it is not only the lure of curtailing entitlement spending but also the fact that defense faces a serious, additional hit in the next round of sequester cuts. For Democrats, the squeeze on discretionary spending may be enough to consider accepting entitlement reforms.
The sticking point, as always, will be raising revenue — that is, the Republicans’ unwillingness to consider it, the Democrats’ refusal to budge without it. This phenomenon has both political and substantive dimensions. Politically, Democratic lawmakers demand revenue as the price for entitlement trims, and it will be difficult to persuade them to relent. Substantively, it is galling for Democrats to consider asking for sacrifices from those in the relative middle while the ultra-wealthy are spared.
Certainly a big budget deal would demand a balanced approach. But why must that be true in the current, more limited context of relieving the sequester’s bite? In this situation, demanding tax revenue equivalent, say, to the defense half of the sequester seems more symbolic than essential.