This time, however, it will be more difficult for Republicans to get Democrats to agree to spending cuts. In the summer of 2011, both parties were essentially placing bets on the outcome of the 2012 election. With Obama re-elected and Democrats still controlling the Senate, Democrats believe they are in a stronger position. …

For his part, Obama has insisted that he won’t negotiate over the debt limit this time around. This is unlikely to hold, given the potential consequences to the federal government, financial markets and the economy if it is never raised. And the fact that he made the debt ceiling a part of ultimately fruitless fiscal cliff talks with Boehner means he’s already negotiated over it. …

And from the Republican perspective, the tax debate is now closed. Income taxes have gone up by $617 billion, and the rich are now paying their “fair share.” The final fiscal cliff deal was a bitter pill for Republicans to swallow, but they were able to do so only because of the unique circumstances in which tax rates were expiring anyway, so that inaction meant $4.5 trillion in tax hikes on nearly everyone. Absent that automatic expiration issue — which ultimately forced even anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist to give Republicans a pass — there is no reason Republicans would agree to a penny more in higher taxes.