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The resilience of the sequester

Over at the Washington Post, Greg Sargent has the following observation:

The President and Senate Dems will never agree to a package that only cuts entitlements. There’s a simple reason for this: From the point of view of Democrats, the sequester cuts are preferable to replacing them with entitlement cuts. There is no imaginable scenario under which Dems would agree to replace the sequester only with entitlement cuts. Such a thing could never be sold to rank and file Democratic officials, let alone to the base.

This is a point I’ve been making since the sequester was created in 2011, but it bears repeating. Sequestration was always likely to go into effect because both sides find it less bad then the alternative. When it was created, Republicans made sure tax increases weren’t part of the trigger mechanism, while Democrats walled off Social Security, Medicaid and most of Medicare. So, when the “super committee” met in the fall of 2011, there was no reason to believe they’d achieve entitlement reform or increase taxes, because sequestration is a less offensive fall back option. For the same reason, sequestration went into effect on March 1 and will probably remain in effect barring a much broader budget deal.

The only thing that would have changed the dynamic would have been a total victory by one party in the 2012 elections as opposed to the reality of President Obama getting reelected but Republicans maintaining control of the House.