From the above article:
Politicians of both persuasions will always, during election campaigns, claim that they know "families are doing it tough". But that's just politics. John Quiggin had a column recently about the false perceptions that flourish and why, and ended with this:
Another possible explanation of the ‘doing it tough’ perception arises from inconsistent responses to price variation. Despite sustained low inflation and falling interest rates, many Australians perceive themselves as facing ‘cost of living’ pressures. Over the past decade some highly salient prices such as the retail price of electricity have risen sharply, but consumption continued to grow until recently, driven largely by the increased use of airconditioning. By contrast the cost of telecommunications services has fallen , but households have responded to lower prices and the availability of new products by increasing their total expenditure. It is easy enough, though misleading, to see this as a story of ever-increasing bills for everything.
Despite all of these partial explanations, it is hard to escape the conclusion that the ‘doing it tough’ perception is nothing more than a manifestation of some of our less appealing human propensities: envy and chronic dissatisfaction. This can be seen all the way up the income scale, to the point of British bankers who complain that they can’t live on a million pounds (roughly 2 million dollars) a year.
News media have an obvious commercial interest in telling stories that make their audiences feel victimised, and politicians have made the judgement that telling voters the truth is too costly. At current rates of growth, incomes will double by 2050, but we will doubtless still be living on Struggle Street.
Amazingly, too, I note how little attention there has been in the media (and how unsuccessful Labor has been in talking about) the reductions in government family support the Coalition is committed to (such as ending the School Kids bonus) while at the same time promising that families will be $500 a year better off because of the carbon tax going.
Families, do your maths!
Introduced last year, the bonus provides eligible families with $410 a year for each child in primary school and $820 for each in high school.If you intend voting Coalition, you probably think you are "doing it tough" and that your electricity bill is a dis-aster. Yet if you have kids at school, this one item alone shows, what the Coalition "gives" is going to be more than taken away.