I suppose this is what conservatives tell themselves so they can still choke down their oatmeal in the morning.
The GOP suffered a great loss by allowing the tax rates to be unhooked from spending.
And I'm sure that's what liberals tell themselves so they can choke down their oatmeal in the morning. If tax rates had been tied to spending (deficit reduction as a whole), it would have been much much harder to keep the increases to such a minimal amount. By disconnecting tax rates from the deficit calculation, the GOP was able to get through this round with a minimal amount of loss from their initial position.
Now, when deficit reduction comes to the table, the only thing left to balance deficit against is spending.
There was no deal that we'd raise taxes now if we cut spending later or anything. We just legislated in some higher tax rates for the wealthiest folks. The GOP got essentially nothing out of it aside from looking stupid.
They got the tax rates "done" though, and with only about $60B/year in increases. I don't think you grasp what this means. Now instead of a trillion dollar deficit being balanced against potential tax increases and spending cuts. The deficit will be balanced solely against spending cuts. So instead of saying "we'll reduce the deficit by $500B/year by raising $250B/year in taxes and cut spending by $250B/year", it'll be "any dollar of deficit reduction comes as a result of a dollar of spending cuts".
That's a massive win for the GOP. If the Democrats attempt to put tax increases back on the table right after we just agreed to make a set of rates permanent (and the general perception that they won on that issue), they'll make themselves look ridiculous. They just sold this deal as them standing firm on not raising taxes on X% of the population. Their own rhetoric traps them in this regard.
The Democrats will go into the next round of talks saying "We need to raise revenue. (via closing loopholes, capital gains taxes, corporate taxes... anything but standard income taxes)" The GOP will say "Nuh uh, cuts only!". The Democrats will say "Well, some revenue and some cuts" and the GOP will stonewall and say no new taxes ever and we'll come to the brink of a government shutdown and the public will see the Democrats asking for a compromise and the GOP saying "Our way or it all burns!". Perception will be 60%+ saying if the government shuts down, the GOP is primarily to blame.
Again, if they try that, they'll be the ones who look like they're going back on their word. Now I'm sure they'll get lots of help in the media with this if they try it, but I suspect the public is getting tired of the Dems saying "we don't want to raise taxes", and then turning around and trying to raise taxes. The GOP will just say that a tax rate agreement was already reached. Given the massive public attention the Dems put on the agreement and the back slapping they're giving themselves in the media over the result, it's somewhat of a hard sell to then say "Oh wait! We didn't really get what we needed" and try to get the public on board with yet another round of tax increases.
The Dems own claims of victory over such a tiny amount of tax increase is going to be their own obstacle in this. But by all means, continue to shout from the rooftops how much of a victory this was for the Dems, and how they got what they wanted, and the GOP lost out big time. Public perception is a *****, isn't it?
My cite: the last umpteen rounds of budget/debt talks.
Sure. Like I said, I don't doubt they'll try this. Given some of the ridiculous negotiating claims they've made in the past, it wouldn't surprise me in the least. But each time they do this sort of thing, they lose a bit more support from people who actually believed their claims of taking a balanced approach and all that. Folks like you don't care, but you're in the far left "tax and spend as much as possible" camp. The tipping point of support that the Dems require to do those things comes from people who don't view it that way. If it wasn't, then the Dems wouldn't bother to pretend that they're willing to make 10 dollars of cuts for every dollar of tax increase for example. That subterfuge is necessary for the Dems to retain sufficient support. They have to be very careful not to lose it by being too blatant with their agenda.