There's this idea out there that the sequester and its effects are the fault of Republicans. No one following along thinks that, but it's the majority opinion.
In early 2011, the debt limit was going to be reached within the year. President Obama knew this was coming, and should have reduced spending early in the year to prepare for the fact that the law said he couldn't borrow any more money.
Instead, Obama spent as though there would be no limit. He said it was Congress' job to increase the limit, even though he had voted against doing it as a Senator, and told many lies about how not increasing it was going to result in default, even though we had enough money to pay for all mandatory spending.
They did come to an agreement on the debt limit, thanks to Obama promising two things: that there would be automatic cuts if they didn't come to an agreement on deficit reduction. Stated all along was that we need a "balanced" approach, with both tax increases and spending cuts.
So fast forward to 2012, and Obama saying the sequester is a terrible idea that came from the Republicans, and doing other antagonizing of the Republicans that seems designed to push them away, so they would be less likely to want to make a deal. And then in early 2013, the Republicans agreed to spending increases, getting absolutely nothing in return. Obama said he "fulfilled a major campaign promise" by getting the tax increase. Republicans said that this was understood to be the tax increase portion of a deal, and now it was time to work on the spending cuts.
So now we're looking at the deadline to avoid the sequester, and the Repulicans have made several proposals, including to change nothing except to fund certain things that would otherwise be cut, and to cut spending more intelligently. Obama has rejected everything that does not include another tax increase.
And let's not also forget that every single cut that has been announced is a choice. The amounts cut are mandatory, but how they are applied is a choice. Every time someone says "we have to cut teacher pay" or "we have to do this or that," they're lying. They are making a choice about what to cut, and it seems like -- just as Obama is trying to antagonize Republicans into not making a deal by lying about them nearly every day -- Obama is picking cuts designed to make the public angry. The Republicans even offered a proposal to make those choices easier and smarter, and Obama rejected it.
Obama is saying the Republicans came up with the sequester, even though he did. Obama is saying the Republicans won't concede to a tax increase to avoid sequester, even though they did just last month. Obama is saying the Republicans are to blame for no agreement, holding the country "hostage," even though Republicans have made explicitly balanced offers and Obama rejects them.
There's no question that Obama deserves the overwhelming majority of the blame here. He is lying about the lack of tax increases, lying about specific cuts being necessary, and apparently doing anything he can to avoid a deal. Either he doesn't want a deal, or he is doing a great job of pretending he doesn't want a deal.
Indeed, even Democrats are pointing out that because most Americans are blaming Republicans, the President has no real reason to come to an agreement. So avoiding the "pain" of a sequester is not reason enough for him, apparently. It's a bizarre thing: Obama is acting like he wants sequestration, and is responsible for almost every part of how we got here, but everyone is still blaming Republicans.
As I've said, I am open to having the sequestration. If they won't cut spending on their own, this is a good start. It's a terribly dumb way to cut, but it's better than not cutting. But I think Obama wants sequestration a lot more than I do.