If you smoke, drink or drive, you must really hate Budget Day because when the Chancellor stands up today to present whats going up and whats going down to balance the books in the next financial year, its the fags, booze and cars that get hit every time. As someone who does all three, and usually all at the same time, i know i am going to have to dig a little deeper for the next twelve months.
During a recession, the problem for the Government is that after you hit these three soft targets, you haven't got anywhere else to go to raise revenue without resorting to spin, distortion or stealth and this Labour Party would never do that.
What we will get instead is cuts dressed up as cost cutting measures to save the country some cash. Back in 2003 they announced slashing 100,000 jobs in the Civil Service which must have saved them a few quid even if it means that the guy now dealing with your Tax Return has 15 minutes experience and you are either due a rebate of £150 or you owe them £7,987,045 and you have until Friday to pay up.
The obvious answer, obvious to me anyway, is that you can't raise the basic income tax rates because that would leave those on lower wages worse off and Brown must have learnt his lesson when he messed with the 10% band rate a few years ago and it ended up costing him more than if he had left it alone.
I would therefore put forward the idea that he whack the rich with heavy tax increases. Push the present 40% tax band up to 60% for anyone earning over £150,000 annually. Yes they may whine about it but they can afford it, a family living on minimum wage topped up by Tax Credits can't.
If Brown is determined to cut services, he could look to slash jobs in his own Government by getting rid of unnecessary and unwanted Labour politicians.
Want me to fetch yours and Jacqui Smiths coats Gordon?