Good advice from Charles Krauthammer — and not just because I’ve been making the same argument for weeks. Barack Obama demanded more tax hikes along with a delay in the sequester cuts yesterday, which Krauthammer could hardly believe. Why bother? If the House Republicans do nothing, they get significant cuts in spending for free:
[I]t is unbelievable that [Obama] would offer the Republicans a deal with extra tax increases as part of a deal. Republicans will do nothing and they should do nothing. And if the president wants to avoid this, ‘you do the cuts, but do them without tax increases.’
Actually, if the President wants to avoid this, he just needs to tell the Senate to work on the bills already presented to them by the House. The lower chamber has already passed bills that replace the sequester with better cuts. The only holdup in this process is Harry Reid, who doesn’t want to govern through normal order, and who wants a replay of fiscal-cliff crises of the past two-plus years.
Ah, but the shoe is on the other foot. As Peter Orszag pointed out a month ago, the permanent resolution of the tax hikes and the AMT took all the leverage away from Democrats in this fight. “It’s entirely possible,” the former OMB director said at the time, “they’re going to win the week and lose the quarter.” With the debt ceiling punted to May, the only issue on the table now is spending. Republicans have switched positions with Obama, and now all they have to do is sit for their preferred outcome to materialize. And even better, this time the issue is the real issue, and not side issues like the debt ceiling and “fairness.”