The question is not whether Republicans won the debt ceiling battle, but which Republicans.

So says Garrett Jones:

In the world of political campaigning, yes, obviously: $2 trillion in possible spending cuts, no tax hikes. “We kept taxes from going up”: that’s a GOP campaign consultant’s dream.

But to the GOP policy wonks, this was a loss. The policy people know that they could’ve had a $4 trillion package, with less than $1 trillion of that coming from [tax] increases; that’s the deal Speaker Boehner and the President almost sealed.

As Milton Friedman is alleged to have said, “To spend is to tax.” So every foregone spending cut means a future tax increase. That’s why this was a loss to small-government Republicans: a trillion dollars of foregone spending cuts means a government that consumes more of the national pie (a net waste to most Republicans, unless they’re talking about the military) and it means higher taxes in the future (with worse incentives to work and save).

But the modern GOP is all about preventing current tax increases, not future tax increases. As long as the GOP isn’t in charge the day the tax increase occurs, GOP voters won’t blame Republicans. That means we’ll just have to wait for Democrats to get elected so they can raise taxes to pay for all of the spending programs Republicans (and Democrats) voted for.

In short, to serious policy people, the trillion-plus in spending cuts left on the White House negotiating table is a win for the long-run policy goals of Democrats and a loss for the long-run policy goals of Republicans.

Full interview.

Hat tip to MR.