The Chancellor is still confronted by the awkward truth that for most people there is no recovery at all.
Trailing to Ukip on immigration and to Labour on the NHS, the Conservatives' best hope may be an economic slowdown that persuades voters the storm has not passed.
Inadequate wages and extortionate rents are pushing up the housing benefit bill.
The planned £3bn cut in benefits is designed to force Labour to say which taxes it would raise or which cuts it would make.
"Look at what you would've won" is a fruitless strategy for the Tories at their conference; the Lib Dems' plummet in popularity is still a worthwhile price to pay for what the coalition has achieved.
Tax revenues flowing into the Treasury would make a big difference to the amount of spending cuts needed.
The Chancellor says that a vote on Britain's EU membership would be unwhipped for Conservative backbench MPs.
The decision to keep devo max off the ballot paper may come to be seen as the Unionists' biggest error.
GDP may be rising, but wage growth is at its lowest level on record. There is no recovery for most voters.
The act was denounced as "bullying" at the time, but Salmond's struggles prove it was the right choice.