Democrats, especially Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, are fit to be tied as they watch cherished social programs gradually shrink. The sequester, enacted during the struggle over the debt limit in 2011, was the brainchild of the White House. It requires $1 trillion in cuts over 10 years in nonentitlement spending, $84 billion in 2013 and $109 billion in 2014.

To say the sequester has backfired for Democrats is putting it mildly. The specter of automatic cuts was supposed to scare members of a Senate-House panel assigned to forge a bipartisan budget accord. If they failed, the sequester would become law. Democrats believed this would never occur. But it did.

Now across-the-board cuts go into effect annually without the need for a fresh vote in Congress or the president’s signature. Nor are Republicans forced to offer Democrats the sweetener of tax increases. The sequester is cuts and only cuts. As a result, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell noted proudly last week when announcing the end of the shutdown that “government spending has declined for two years in a row [for] the first time in 50 years.”…

Now the Bush tax rates are permanent and White House leverage is gone. This means that Republicans, if they’re united, have the ability to block tax increases in the Senate and House. The same is true for proposed changes in the sequester.