Disclaimer: This will be a mixture of fact, logical interpretation and pure opinion. If anyone has any doubt about which is which, please ask... Obama - Obama was the biggest loser here, by a wide margin. He got nothing anywhere close to what he says he wanted, has been forced to utterly reverse his primary economic strategy (tax and spend our way out of the recession - recall that last year he was pushing a second stimulus!), and worst of all, lacked leadership during the process. While he'll try to paint the right as inflexible and unreasonable (he has, at least temporarily, succeeded in that, according to polls), ultimately he caved to them without ever having provided a fully-developed plan of his own (I have a theory on that, for another thread...) for them to consider, much less reject. And in my perception, he piggy-backed onto negotiations between the House Reps and Senate Dems, helping reconcile their bills following the failure of his own attempts to reach a compromise with Republicans directly. Congressional Democrats - As a group, Congressional Democrats lost because they, like Obama, gave away a lot more than the Republicans did, but certain ones may have won. Ie, for Harry Reid it was an ideological loss along with the rest of his group, but since he appeared to have a signficiant hand in both strong-arming House Republicans and ultimately working to craft the deal, there is a personal upside for him. The Tea Party - The Tea Party was the biggest winner here, but ironically since they didn't evertying some wanted, some in the Tea Party will consider it a loss. But it was a win because they were strong, relevant, and mostly successful in bending the other members of Congress - from both sides of the aisle - to their will. Mainstream Congressional Republicans - Push. Obama caved, but he mostly caved to the Tea Party and Boehner got slapped down by the Tea Party as well, when they rejected one of his bills. The Media - the media always wins big in a crisis, as they did here. But theirs was largely a victory against journalism, which I think, is part of what is causing so many media outlets to suffer financially these days. Extremist pundits from both sides capitalized on their extremism, while those even in the mainstream chose to simply report the propaganda of the politicians without insisting on portraying the issues accurately. The most critical flaw in the reporting was the media's acceptance of the phrase "debt reduction". This is just plain a factually/mathematically wrong characterization. The debt will not go down because of this deal, it will go up - a lot. The deal simply isn't designed to reduce the debt, it is designed to increase the debt go up by less than someone's current projection. This false reporting - or, if you prefer, parroting of our politicians propaganda - helps portray a failure as a success and masks the very problem that this debate was all about. Which brings us to: Us - We got creamed. This deal, if it even succeeds in its goal and the projections are accurate (hint: they are always, always overly optomistic), ten years from now, our debt will be somewhere around 50% above what is already a historic post-war high. The ten-year "reductions" in this deal are roughly equal to what the debt will actually be increased by over the next one year alone. Now some democrats, and probably Obama himself, are still saying/thinking that we have to tax and spend our way out of the recession, but these positions are simply mathematically impossible. The proposed taxes on the rich are too small (or, rather, there aren't enough rich people even if we soak them) and even if the spending increases, which so far haven't produced the advertised results, end up helping, they will still send us further down the path toward bankrupcy. So while our politicians slap each other on the back over this deal, our credit rating may still be downgraded and today's dire debt situation still will likely look quant in comparison with the debt increases our politicians are intending pile on our shoulders over the next ten years. Epilogue: When we debated the Kyoto treaty in this forum, some people agreed with me that the treaty is deeply flawed, coming nowhere close to addressing the issue it was intended to address. But, they said, it gets us thinking about it and moving in the right direction and the next treaty will be better. I've heard the same logic applied here. I disagree and I think Kyoto has provided evidence to support that. I think that when politicians craft a deal, they pat themselves on the back, then utterly ignore the issue until that deal expires, as they have with Kyoto, which expires next year iirc. The end result being that instead of opening a discussion of the issue and leading to new progress, the deal closed discussion on the issue and tabled it for years, guaranteeing that the problem would not be properly addressed and would continue to worsten for years to come. That's what I predict will happen here.