As Congress and the White House stumble toward the “sequester” at the end of the week, it is worth keeping in mind why these automatic spending cuts are so misguided. First, they would be applied across-the-board, without distinguishing the quality or impact of the spending. Heath-care spending, the leading cause of the long-term deficit problem, isn’t on the table.

Second, the moment, the economy still struggling to gain momentum, hardly merits such a program of austerity. Need evidence of the folly? Look at the troubles in Europe.

Finally, spending reductions without additional revenues depart from a responsible, balanced approach to deficit reduction. If congressional Republicans get their way, the ratio of spending cuts to new revenues would be roughly 5 to 1.