Instead, Brown is going to go heavy on soak-the-rich measures; thereby strengthening what Labour see as two dividing lines. The first: that the Tories are on the side of a privileged few, while Labour make policy for the many. The second: that tax rises can trump spending cuts.
The result of this, of course, is that the government doesn't have a convincing plan for getting out of its own fiscal mess. But you suspect Brown won't mind too much. He's not trying to appeal to investors, who will shun his politicking – but rather to Labour's core vote and anyone else who may be angry at all those fat cats. In the end, it's all about short-term gain at the risk of medium-term stability. George Osborne's task, starting with his response to the PBR on Wednesday, will be to get that message across.