After a long Easter break that bordered on decadent, I'm back and newsing like never before, more eager to bust some chops than ever.
The real betrayal of Britain's poorest and most vulnerable people was Labour's support for this toxic policy. With 13 honourable exceptions who all deserve praise for actually doing what they were elected to do, Labour MPs acquiescently lined up behind the welfare cap. If an antelope feeds its calf to a lion, that's pretty shocking.
With a budget that achieves the exact opposite of the objectives the Chancellor has set himself we are all wondering what will come out of the Ministry of Truth next. A Localism Act that centralises planning perhaps; or a Big Society that cuts benefits for the poor and vulnerable?
Jobs will be lost because bosses have to pay a bit more tax? How does that work? They're going to shut down factories, lay off staff, because they have to pay a bit more income tax? I don't think so.Investors will tear up their business plans because they feel sorry for UK chief executives with fewer pounds in their pockets? Why on earth would they? It simply makes no sense.
Successful entrepreneurs who look to the UK as a business friendly place to locate and invest will see a tax rate far beyond that in countries like Russia, which has a flat tax rate of only 13% for everybody! Just like we're seeing with France, investors would leave the country and go elsewhere.
It is estimated Labour would get around £1billion annually, which in tax terms is peanuts. The National Health Service alone, for example, soaks up more than £100billion - and rising - despite 'efficiency savings'. So why do it? The answer is probably to provide electoral cover for more widespread tax rises if Labour wins the next election.
Ed Balls' speech over the weekend announcing that Labour will aim to run a surplus by the end of the next parliament raises significant questions about public service reform. No matter whether you viewed the pledge as necessary political positioning or not, to make it a reality the next Labour government will need to significantly reform the state, without more money to spend.
Raising the top rate of income tax isn't about envy, it's about justice. But it only goes so far. We also need to start talking about raising the minimum wage, clamping down on tax avoidance and evasion, and public ownership. Enough is enough. The rich have been taking the rest of us for a ride for far too long.
Pension relief is one of the most common (and government-sanctioned ways) to avoid tax. Limiting it (especially if other exemptions and loopholes were also altered) could lead to further knock on gains for the public purse as higher earners find fewer simple ways to avoid taxation at their disposal.
There are some key factors in building successful teams in politics, sport and business - and Ed Miliband might be stealing a march on David Cameron in one area...
In the run-up to the general election, I'd say we're going to see a lot more of this kind of stuff - a wide-ranging sea of politicians falling over each other to try to sort of sound like they maybe might kind of agree with someone on the other side on a couple of things. Keep your eyes open for little worms of compliments being cast across the floor of the House by hopeful political fishermen...
At the beginning of this year, with the UK economy stuck in stagnation and seemingly no end in sight to the Coalition government's controversial austerity programme, the chances of a Conservative majority after the 2015 general election looked slim. Fast forward, and a fundamentally altered story emerges.
The knives are out for the shadow chancellor. Again. But to call for him to be sacked on the basis of a single, bad Commons performance is absurd. Contrary to conventional wisdom, it is Ed Balls, not George Osborne, who has been vindicated on the economy.
As public and parliamentary support for HS2 falls, surely it is only a matter of time before one of the parties changes their position. At the rate things are going, the debate may well descend into a race to see who will be the one to push the plans well and truly off the rails.
There are clearly lessons that Britain can learn from America, where President Obama has used fiscal policy to secure rather than strangle economic recovery. Since the autumn of 2010, the US has grown a staggering four times faster than the UK.
George Osborne may be right to boast that opposition to what he's doing is "crumbling", after Ed Balls agreed to work within the coalition's spending limits. The Chancellor would enjoy further clout after the IMF and OECD rallied behind his deficit reduction plan. But such groups have tended to be rather fickle in their support for the Chancellor. Osborne should beware relying on fairweather friends as justification for his economic agenda, as they can easily turn against him.