How did the sequester happen? How is it possible that what supposedly was the worst possible way to cut the deficit somehow became what actually happened?
Over the weekend Ezra Klein, in a much retweeted blog post that was the talk of large parts of the political blogosphere, said that the GOP was never going to make a deal to avoid the sequester if it included a tax increase. Nothing...not the prospect of reductions in military spending, not the projected reduction in GDP, not the estimated increase in unemployment, not the lost possibility of a bigger deal to reduce the deficit and not the overwhelming likelihood that Republicans would get blamed for all of this...made any difference.
The GOP's position seems to defy all economic and political commonsense until you realize how much GOP politics have changed in recent years.
I first posted a month ago about how House Republicans are increasingly acting as if there's no way they won't be in the majority at least through the end of this decade. Back in January I said that this was one of the primary reasons why the threat of a sequester and government shutdown had to be taken more seriously than most analysts were doing.
Now there's more evidence that the House GOP thinks its majority will continue to exist for quite a while.
At least that's how I read this story from The Hill by Russell Berman that explains how the House is letting the Senate go first so that Democrats can't avoid tough votes on a variety of issues as they have done over the previous two years when it refused to take up House-passed legislation.