Will the world end if President Obama and congressional Republicans reach no agreement by Friday to avoid the sequestration of some federal spending? Count Barron’s “D.C. Current” columnist Jim McTague among the observers who remain unconvinced.

During last week’s sequestration sparring, President Barack Obama demonstrated that he can be as inane as any Republican.

“I am willing to cut more spending that we don’t need, get rid of programs that aren’t working,” said the president. The remark was so risible, it appeared that the president was offering himself up as red meat for Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. In fact, it was his idea of a conciliatory gesture to the GOP: In return for even higher taxes on the rich, he was tendering the sort of no-brainer budgetary adjustment that any competent CEO in the private sector would have made his first week on the job.

Seldom have such faux-bold words been uttered with such uncritical reaction. The press and the public and the comedians did not notice this humdinger because of their horrid fascination with another part of the speech, the part where Obama laid out his dystopian vision of a federal government that is forced by Republicans to tighten its belt because spending is growing faster than revenues. The military would become enfeebled; vital government services would be eviscerated; and most horrible of all, air travelers would experience long lines and flight delays. because the Department of Transportation would have to cut $1 billion from its current budget of $79 billion. …

… The GOP, which finally agreed to raise taxes on the rich in January to retain low Bush-era tax rates for everyone else, said that it won’t raise taxes again — that it’s time to cut spending. With no hint of irony, White House spokesman Jay Carney complained Friday that it was hard for Democrats to compromise with an opposition that refuses to bend an inch.

Obama now is trying to turn the public against the GOP by publicly blaming it for the bi-partisan sequester law that he signed and by claiming in a nonstop scare campaign that it will wreck the nation. …

… The scare-fest could backfire. A recent poll found that a majority of Democrats now favor spending cuts, says Republican economist Doug Holtz-Eakin. “The sentiment on the ground favors Republicans more than people realize,” he says.