The level of austerity required varies hugely depending on how much growth is thought possible.
The Chancellor may think he is a realist playing hard politics. But these are tactics the Scottish government could also successfully employ.
The Scottish First Minister offered no persuasive argument for Scotland entering a currency union with the rest of the UK.
"If Scotland walks away from the UK, it walks away from the Pound."
Neither the tax rises proposed by Labour, nor the benefits cuts proposed by the Tories would make a significant dent in the deficit.
Despite being repeatedly pressed by Ed Balls at Treasury questions, the Chancellor refuses to comment on whether the Tories want to reduce the top rate from 45 per cent to 40 per cent.
The economy is still 1.3 per cent smaller than before the recession and the recovery remains the slowest since 1870s.
The dangers of an unbalanced recovery are real and excessive boastfulness could encourage voters to believe it is safe to return Labour to power.
The former US treasury secretary points out to the Chancellor that while the US economy exceeded its pre-recession peak years ago, the UK is still catching up.
The Work and Pensions Secretary wanted welfare reform to be defined by Universal Credit. It has been defined by the bedroom tax.