We have just had a General Election and already the pundits are predicting what will be decisive next time.
According to the Ernst & Young Item Club the Chancellor has little room for manoeuvre on fiscal policy and is facing a £12 billion deficit in 2005-06, making it harder for him to meet his golden rule on spending.
"The economy won the election for Labour this time, but next time value for money in public services will be pivotal," chief economic advisor Professor Peter Spencer claims.
And he cites "serious long term problems".
"The UK economy is like a house that looks very prosperous from the street, but on closer inspection has structural problems requiring urgent remedial attention if they are not to become serious."
So why should we be so worried?
The issues are our weak trade performance, the public and pensions deficits and the generally low UK savings rate.
Mr Spencer notes: "These problems are not new, but have become more acute since 1997. If this new government ducks these issues, it will be very hard to handle the strain on the tax system in future decades.
"Basically, like the Chancellor himself, we have been borrowing excessively. This has kept interest and exchange rates too high, depressing investment, exports and manufacturing output. Our savings culture has all but disappeared.
"Household savings rates have collapsed since 1998, the occupational pensions system has been seriously degraded and the introduction of pensioner tax credits - while having a very laudable objective - have had disincentive effects on savings at the lower end of the income scale.
"We all need to spend less and save more. The Chancellor should make a start by cutting his deficit back, and restoring incentives for pensions and savings."
He has a serious point although my wife put it equally succinctly the other day.
I was bemoaning the state of my monthly finances, grumbling about how much it was costing to put the children through university, worrying about the state of my pension contributions and agonising over whether I should raid the savings again.
"Oh, let's spend some of it - perhaps if we spend enough we will be due some Government handouts too," she quipped.
If you are rich enough none of this matters, if you are poor enough the state bails you out, but if you are stuck in the middle you get the worst of all worlds. No wonder all too few of us are saving enough.
Item maintains that as well as easing the tax burden in the medium term, an increase in savings would help rebalance the economy in the short term.
Mr Spencer said: "We have argued in the past that a carrot and stick approach to savings and pensions would be best, with compulsion and tax relief focused at the lower end of the income scale. This would stimulate savings and the costs would be shared between employees, employers and the Government."
The trouble is - that is a recipe for electoral defeat.