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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The “sequester” now goes down in history with blowing the surplus, Tora Bora, Iraq, Katrina, the financial crisis and the near-debt default in the GOP’s streak of amazing successes. With a streak like that, the only question is whether they’re better at hurting the country accidentally or on purpose.

When it comes to the sequester, the damage will definitely be done on purpose.

Republicans may want to give credit to the president for these automatic budget cuts, as the AP calls them, but no one doubts that the whole idea that we should reduce the deficit while unemployment is painfully high is basically the GOP’s entire reason for existing for the last four years.

If you had a nickel for every time you were told, “We have a spending problem, not a revenue problem,” you’d be Rupert Murdoch.

While the GOP has been effective in slowing spending, especially on the state and local levels, they haven’t been able to make drastic immediate cuts in federal spending — until now — sorta.

The sequester has gone into effect just days after the Dow tested all-time highs, the housing market showed serious signs of improvement and unemployment claims dropped—suddenly, $85 billion in crude budget cuts that will kill 750,000 jobs will go into effect.

Of course, on Saturday, Republicans began joking that there were no immediate effects. No long airport security lines, no rotten pony meat discovered at Carl’s Jr., no lepers molting in the street.

The cuts will not really be obvious for about 30 days. So for 30 days, Republicans can still veer back and forth, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell saying the sequester is great and Speaker Boehner saying it’s terrible but he’ll only stop it if Democrats agree to replacing it with other cuts — which would likely destroy an equal number of jobs.

As anyone who has access to a Republican knows, the GOP refuses to consider any tax increases, despite President Obama running and winning on a “balanced approach” to deficit reduction. The Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent asked his readers to imagine a world where Mitt Romney won and Democrats demanded a deficit reduction package of only tax cuts.

But there’s no analogy that’s going to shock this GOP into accepting that voters are more interested in closing loopholes for hedge fund managers than cutting kids off Headstart. Even 76 percent of Americans say they want a compromise almost exactly like the president is offering.

Instead, Republicans pretend that the president doesn’t have a plan to replace the sequester. When you link them to the president’s plan, they point out something else they want. When you point out that what they’re suggesting is in the president’s plan, they demand more.

This isn’t an exaggeration. Nearly this exact exchange happened over Twitter with “moderate” Republican strategist Mike Murphy.