Watching budget statements is always frustrating and last week's was especially so. Macroeconomic data suggests things are getting better.
That the UK economy grew at 2.6 per cent in 2014 is good news; especially given that this is faster than other advanced economies.
George Osborne claimed the economy would continue to grow at 2.5 per cent in 2015 followed by 2.3 per cent, 2.3 per cent, 2.3 per cent and 2.4 per cent in the next four years.
Inflation is falling and interest rates will continue to remain at their historic low for the foreseeable future. Employment is increasing and, by implication, unemployment is decreasing.
Osborne claimed the critical choice we all faced was whether we stuck with the current plan that he, unsurprisingly, believed was achieving success or to return to what he called "chaos".
Crucially, using selected measures, Osborne claimed living standards were better now than they were in 2010 when the coalition came to power.
The experience of those who I talk to suggests this is not the case.
This perception is backed up by research carried out by the Resolution Foundation which states its belief that incomes for the vast majority of the population are in fact still below the level they were at in 2010.
Paul Johnson, of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), backs this up in asserting his organisation can find no increase in real incomes; quite the contrary.
As other commentators point out, when Osborne made his first 'emergency' budget in May 2010 he claimed that, by now, the austerity measures he was announcing would have eliminated a deficit that, let's not forget, was caused by saving banks so instrumental in creating the calamity of the global financial crisis.
Moreover, these critics contend, whatever Osborne may claim in terms of the errant borrowing of the last government, this government has racked up more debt than Labour did in 13 years in office.
And, for good measure, critics of the Coalition's economic strategy point to the fact that changes in taxation have not made everyone richer.
Rather, the changes to taxation have effectively redistributed wealth to the rich, most especially those whose who have the ability to be both physically footloose and to shift their money with incredible ease and speed.
Contrast this with the million people who regularly have to resort to food banks, the almost 60 per cent rise in the unemployed and working families who claim housing benefit and the estimated 1.4 million people on so called 'zero-hours' contracts and a very different vista emerges of the state of contemporary Britain.
Additionally, unsecured debt is spiralling.
According to a the report from PwC, called 'Precious Plastic: How Britons Fell Back in Love With Borrowing', by the end of next year the average UK household will owe almost £10,000 in debts as a result of personal loans, credit cards and overdrafts.
However, many believe that things for the disadvantaged will get a whole lot worse.
According to Osborne's Budget statement, we were told the cuts to public spending announced in December's Autumn Statement, and which were due to be over within four years of next May's election, will now be achieved more quickly in years 2016-17 and 2017-18 after which there will be the biggest increase in spending for a decade.
A situation the Office for Budget Responsibility likens to a "rollercoaster".
Additionally, we were told there would be another £12 billion in welfare cuts over the next five years which can only mean that for the poor, including working families on low income, there will be more misery.
These cuts will be twice as severe as anything we have experienced since the Coalition came to power in 2010.
Perhaps, one aspect of the Budget that did seem more hopeful is the belief regions will have more autonomy devolved to them such as Manchester which is conveniently close to Osborne's Tatton constituency.
A whole raft of other regional investments, as critics are pointing out, are pretty small beer when compared to the headline figures contained in the proposed cuts.
Some suggest Osborne is engaging in what is referred to in America as 'pork barrel' politics to garner localised support from the regions he has given money to.
Once again, Osborne's critics believe he is not doing enough to address the north-south divide that exists in the UK.
Although in Birmingham and the West Midlands things are getting better, there is a great deal more to be done.
You only have to look at the state of children's social services as well education in the major cities to know any diminution in spending will undermine efforts to improve prospects for the next generation let alone the ferocious cuts suggested last Wednesday.
What is needed here is urgent investment in training, coupled with infrastructure projects to ensure industries offering high, well-paid jobs and apprenticeships are available to the next generation.
As a number of economic commentators have pointed out in recent weeks, the biggest problem that blights our ability to improve living standards is poor productivity which has fallen from about two per cent per worker annually almost a decade ago to pretty much zero since the last election in 2010.
Though jobs are being created at roughly the rate of 100,000 a quarter, they are frequently in sectors in which there is a tendency for them to be short-term and not well-paid - certainly when compared to those in which there are skills shortages.
These additional jobs are not contributing to the sort of productivity gains that will secure economic progress. While Osborne may point to economic growth, it is too reliant on consumption of cheaper imports.
As has been said too often before by me and many others, what we need to achieve is higher productivity in high-value industries such as manufacturing which, as well as offering employment that is well remunerated and prospects, will allow us to sell abroad to improve out balance of payments.
In a blog a week ago BBC economics editor Robert Peston made the point that boosting the UK's productivity was central to our economic recovery and any incoming government should "simply ditch austerity and go for measures to promote productivity".
Sadly, it seems, we are caught in the crossfire of vicious debate about who will wield the cuts fastest rather than the intelligent discussion needed about long-term improvement through investment in capability and productivity.
We'll all get a chance to have a say in the future in a few weeks when the general election takes place.
Would it be too much to ask our politicians to stop engaging in sophistry and start taking some really effective decisions for our long-term economic well-being?
Dr Steven McCabe is director of research degrees for Birmingham City Business School