Or are they just going to keep cutting off their noses to spite their faces?
Ezra Klein sums up the current sequester situation well. Republicans have five goals/demands:
- Reduce the deficit.
- Cut entitlement spending.
- Protect or increase defense spending.
- Get rid of unnecessary deductions and loopholes in the tax code.
- Lower tax rates.
Now, I think all of these are reasonable goals, except for the last one because it directly conflicts with the first one (unless you still believe in the fantasy of trickle-down economics).
Note that I’m not saying I agree with these goals. For example, I think US defense spending (#3) is high enough and could be reduced. And I’d clarify number two in that I think we can decrease entitlement spending without decreasing benefits (in fact, in an earlier post I made the point that we could better reduce costs by increasing entitlement spending).
Nevertheless, the White House has now told the GOP that they will agree on the first four of these. So Republicans would achieve 80% of their goals. But the Republicans don’t want that deal. Instead they will take the sequester, which only accomplishes one of their goals.
Why? Who knows. Maybe the GOP would prefer to sweep themselves into the dustbin of history, rather than ever say yes to anything from Obama.