Ruth Marcus probably angers me more than she should. Is that my fault, or hers?

I don’t know, but I swear that if I were Jeffrey Bezos and I was coming in and taking over the Washington Post, I would not allow any of my regular columnists to spend more than three months out of the year in the Washington Metro area. It’s just too poisonous to common sense.

While I recently went out on a limb and said something somewhat similar, Ms. Marcus let her irrational exuberance get the better of her in saying “the bipartisan group of 14 senators assembled by Maine Republican Susan Collins represents a vibrant and growing coalition of the reasonable and responsible.” She’s referring to a totally failed effort to get the Democrats to give in to hostage demands. It wasn’t a vibrant effort. It isn’t growing. And we should all be glad that it failed.

Ms. Marcus joins Ezra Klein in arguing that the Democrats will never be able to convince the Republicans to agree to more revenues, so they should just stop trying. I can respect that advice if it is coupled to some kind of overarching strategy wherein the Democrats get something of value, but look at this:

The grand bargain — serious steps to rein in entitlement spending combined with tax reform that would raise major new revenue — has repeatedly proved elusive.

The more attainable alternative is a deal that would buy down some of the “sequester” cuts to discretionary spending by replacing them with trims to the entitlement programs that are at the heart of the budget problem.

Both sides have an incentive here. For Republicans, it is not only the lure of curtailing entitlement spending but also the fact that defense faces a serious, additional hit in the next round of sequester cuts. For Democrats, the squeeze on discretionary spending may be enough to consider accepting entitlement reforms.

The sticking point, as always, will be raising revenue — that is, the Republicans’ unwillingness to consider it, the Democrats’ refusal to budge without it. This phenomenon has both political and substantive dimensions. Politically, Democratic lawmakers demand revenue as the price for entitlement trims, and it will be difficult to persuade them to relent. Substantively, it is galling for Democrats to consider asking for sacrifices from those in the relative middle while the ultra-wealthy are spared.

Certainly a big budget deal would demand a balanced approach. But why must that be true in the current, more limited context of relieving the sequester’s bite? In this situation, demanding tax revenue equivalent, say, to the defense half of the sequester seems more symbolic than essential.

The simple translation of this drivel is that the Democrats should assent to paying for the Pentagon’s operations with Granny’s fixed income, and that they should do so without locking in any new revenue through tax reform. It’s true that Ms. Marcus also suggests that we could pay for NASA and the National Institute of Health and other discretionary spending with Granny’s fixed income, but we all know that the Pentagon would chew it all up, and then some.

In other words, her advice is that, now that the Democrats have won a big victory, they should surrender unilaterally.

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