Then, after the debt limit and sequester is settled, Congress and the White House will have to pass legislation authorizing government funding for the next year. The Democratically controlled Senate has not passed a budget since Obamacare became law and as a result the federal government has been operating on a series of continuing resolutions ever since. The last one, passed in September 2012, expires March 27th. If no agreement is made on federal spending before that date, the federal government will be forced to shut down.

How each of these next fiscal crisis moments is resolved will go a long way in determining who got the better bargain in the fiscal cliff deal passed last night. If Obama is again able to raise taxes in any of the next three fiscal events, then this fiscal cliff deal looks great for the White House. They will have secured a $600 billion down payment on actually paying for the Obama welfare state and can slowly build to the $1.6 trillion he initially asked for.

But if Republicans hold firm, and do not agree to any new tax hikes, then this deal looks like a disaster for the White House. They will have blown a once in a generation opportunity to raise taxes by trillions of dollars on the American people and will be forced to pair back Obama’s previous historic spending gains.