Spending slowdown doing the work
The conflict I flagged up earlier between rhetoric and reality has been borne out. The chancellor talked big about raising taxes, but if you look at the tightening in the budget he is planning from 2011, more of the work is being done by slower spending growth than by higher taxes.
Even within the higher taxes, it's striking that he's planning to raise almost as much from higher fuel duty than through the higher taxes on the rich. The end of personal allowances for people earning more than £100k will raise a mere £180m by 2011-2.
Compare that to the extra £1.75bn the government will be netting in extra fuel duty. Similarly, restricting the tax relief on pension contributions to 20% for people on more than £150k will deliver a measly £200m a year.
The 50% top rate for people on more than £150k will raise somewhat more - about £1.8bn in 2011-12, but as I said earlier, the IFS and others have been sceptical about the capacity to raise even that.
And of course there's a reason for the smoke and mirrors - which is that you can't raise the kind of money this government needs to raise by soaking the rich. There aren't enough of them, and those that do exist tend to be very good at keeping the government's hands off their cash. Taxing the rich makes for good politics but less effective economics.