The president will appear on Wednesday at ultra-liberal Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, (which is not the site of the “Don’t Tase Me, Bro” incident) to unveil his economic agenda. This is almost the definition of preaching to the choir, but it is just the beginning of a campaign to prepare for Debt Ceiling Fiasco 2.0.

The Republicans, particularly in the House, are still behaving as if losing the 2012 presidential election gives them a mandate to radically downsize the federal government. The results have been less than optimal.

This month, the International Monetary Fund trimmed its forecast for economic growth in the United States to 1.7 percent in 2013 and 2.7 percent in 2014. It reduced both by 0.2 percentage point from its World Economic Outlook forecast in April.

The I.M.F. said the reductions were in part a response to the automatic spending cuts that resulted from the failure of the White House and Congress to agree on a fiscal deal, which it said had offset healthy private demand.

In other words, sequestration is an unforced error that is needlessly hurting our economy and causing higher than necessary unemployment.

There isn’t much the president can do about it in terms of substance, but he can try to make sure that the Republicans are not rewarded politically for their economic malfeasance.

There are no signs, however, that Speaker Boehner has the wherewithal to avoid destroying our credit rating by refusing to pay for the bills Congress has racked up. The president has to try, but I see no cause for hope.

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