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Look, you silly people, just stop it. You're ruining the country.
We had inflation on the run. The global supply chain issues are sorted. Fruit and veg prices are slipping. Even the cost of fuel has stabilised. But you keep on insisting on going to the dentist. And, if you keep doing that, interest rates will have to rise again.
So, suck it up, princesses, and let those abscesses fester. Your dental work is overheating the economy.
Likewise, your haircuts. Your $35 Moe & Co number two on the back and sides with a little length on the top haircuts are bad enough. But those $300 sessions to rectify the roots or maintain - with utter precision - the Michaelia Cash-style titanium bobs are really throwing fuel on the inflationary fire.
For heaven's sake, learn to live with what nature handed you. No one will notice if you turn up to the office looking like a basket of unfolded laundry the cat slept in. Nor will they care if your rotting teeth give you rat breath. Really, they won't.
The new headmistress of the Reserve Bank School of Tone-deaf Misery last week tut-tutted to a gathering of well-dressed, well-fed and well-coiffed bizoid economists that services inflation was still stubbornly high. Haircuts and dental work were fingered as culprits, along with dining out, sporting activities and recreation.
You could hear the guilty plink of glasses and cutlery as Michele Bullock's admonishment was delivered at the lavish dinner where she was guest speaker. You sensed tongues sliding over new crowns and dainty fingers checking for split ends.
Here in the burrow, instant deflation. Perish the thought of getting my problematic teeth seen to. And as for the trim - now so long overdue I can't bear looking at myself in Zoom meetings - that plan went the same way as the notion the RBA would change after the exit of Philip Lowe. Into the rubbish bin.
Once again, here was the RBA governor explaining to the top end of town the reasons for clobbering the bottom end with another rate rise. Of course, the nation's barbers and dentists were furious. As were people like me. People who don't just suffer bad hair days but a bad hair life. People whose teeth have caused discomfort for decades. Not long into the job, Bullock almost outdid Lowe's helpful advice for the nation to live with its parents for longer and work harder.
To be fair, though, it's not a gig I'd want. Trying to fix a complex problem like inflation with a sledgehammer is never going to be easy or popular. But there's no need to be a Bullock in a china shop. The nerds who run the RBA could learn to be a little more human. They'd benefit from the odd journey behind the Flannelette Curtain to get an understanding of how the real world works. Rather than explain their rates decisions to ballrooms full of wealthy business types, they should engage directly with battlers.
They might learn to choose their words more carefully, communicate better and develop a little empathy along the way. They might even understand the importance of getting dental issues seen to before they lead to other, more costly health conditions.
HAVE YOUR SAY: Are Reserve Bank governors out of touch with the people their decisions affect most directly? Do they lack empathy? Have you delayed trips to the dentist or haircuts because of the cost? Should dental care be covered by Medicare? Email us: email@example.com
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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
- Police have tracked down the alleged culprit behind a string of post office burglaries. Between September and October almost $10,000 worth of packages and parcels were stolen from two Victorian post offices. Police allege the man broke into the Werribee and Point Cook post offices five separate times to grab his haul of parcels.
- Customers will soon face more warnings and delays when transferring money to someone new or upping their payment limits under a major industry-wide crackdown on scammers. The tougher controls on payments is aimed at protecting customers from scammers who put pressure on them to transfer money quickly.
- Funerals are becoming too expensive for the average Australian. Burial costs in 2023 were almost 20 per cent higher than in 2019, an Australian Seniors survey of 1200 Australians and funeral mystery shopper reports found.
THEY SAID IT: "I told my dentist my teeth are going yellow. He told me to wear a brown tie." - Rodney Dangerfield
YOU SAID IT: Our obsession with cars, especially big SUVs and utes, is costing us a bomb. Garry embraces life without a second vehicle.
Wendy writes: "What really annoys me are all the short squat men and women who drive these ugly monsters. Maybe it makes them feel powerful."
"In addition to my wife's 20-year old Mirage and my 26-year old Magna, for the last year we have owned a Tesla," writes Ian. "Realistically, we could easily get away with running two cars in total and probably even one. We definitely don't need three, but both our respective old cars are friends that we would part with reluctantly. Neither car is driven much anymore as the go-to car is the electric car used at least 85 per cent of the time. The old cars are not spewing out much carbon dioxide any more and their manufacture was many years ago so their ongoing impact on the environment is small. It certainly seems that with the popularity of monster utes and huge SUVs that great slabs of the Australia population don't believe that there is any urgency in lowering our carbon emissions. As for encouraging EV use, I suggest everyone be given a test drive in one to see for themselves how they really are a step forward in motor transport."
Stephanie writes: "This is a subject very close to my heart having worked in the motor industry for 33 years. My partner and I do have three vehicles but two of for my business, soon to be reduced to one for the very reason you mention. I'm not sure electric cars are the answer and have done considerable research into it. In my opinion the extra cost of an electric vehicle would be much better spent on a solar array and battery system thus reducing the dependence on fossil fuel power generation. As for the ever increasing size of vehicles on our roads, the government is seriously missing a trick here. If they adopted a system like the UK did over 20 years ago and massively increased the licence fee for the unnecessarily huge trucks and SUVs, and reduced it on environmentally friendly vehicles, it would be an enormous incentive for people to do the right thing. Great job Garry."
"There are no cars in my household, as we prefer to have money for other things," writes Jennifer. "We bought housing near public transport to simplify things, although recently our government removed the bus route from where we'd purchased our home. It's hard in Canberra where public transport is far from ideal, not going to all the places you need to go, however it gives us so much more freedom in spending. If all governments improved public transport, more people would get rid of their cars. National train routes need upgrades. If we used rail for freight we could remove all those heavy, high speed, high polluting trucks that damage roads and people."
Joan writes: "Loved your passionate story, Garry. I need to know if we are supposed to be transitioning to EVs, then how is my diesel Mazda CX5 going to be disposed of? Who would buy it? Can it be traded? What actually happens to it? Landfill? No-one mentions that."
"We always needed 4WD utes on the farm, and 10 years ago, we looked to update," writes Maggie. "Most had swelled to become muscle-trucks. I couldn't stand beside them and touch the bottom of the tub. 'Oh, you can just stand on the back tyre,' the idiot masquerading as a salesman told me. Yes, while lifting a 20-kilogram load out? The weight of the vehicles made them more likely to bog in the soft mud of our farm. We kept the old model and tinkered with it to keep it going. On a different tack, a taxi driver (in the days before Uber) told me that his vision of the ideal city was one with only taxis, no private cars. There would be many fewer vehicles on the roads, with only expert drivers, and no parking problems."
Ken confesses: "Oh, Echidna, I weep in my guilt. Four vehicles. But ... but ... but ... I can only drive one at a time. Three are more than 20 years old, so there's very little depreciation, and all are pretty light on fuel (less than 8L/100km). Two are rarities, 'collector's items' that I polish and cherish and delight in taking on my parental taxi-runs. Only one is 'state-of-the-art' and nearly-new: it's a sub-400cc motorcycle, sips 3.6L/100km and I take it on my trips to Queensland. It's the only vehicle comprehensively insured. The whole menagerie is worth less than $20,000. Total rego/insurance is $2500 per annum. Two bikes, two cars, two people. And a status symbol? Oh yes! My daughter is learning to drive in a roofless manual 1998 Holden Barina Cabrio! Forgive us - yes, we wallow in our luxury, indulgence and vehicular frugality."
Old Donald from Lake Macquarie writes: "I only have one car, a little Honda Civic named Harry (all my cars have had names - surely that's the decent thing to do). Harry's 13 and has travelled fewer kilometres than most half his age. His previous owner didn't know he had a boot or a back seat. I don't pay rego and he drinks moderately. Part of the family, my Harry, and celibate. I asked my garage man last Christmas if Harry was quite well and the surprised garage man responded, 'He's a Honda!' Harry allows me to continue my love affair with life and at such small cost! One is enough."
"Could not agree more with you regarding these monsters on our roads," writes Bruce. "I also think people buy these behemoths because they think they are safer when apparently, according to experts, they are not. We have a 12-year-old Suzuki Jimny to transport our dogs and tow trailer, total running costs per year about $3500 and an MG EV, total running costs about $7500, including depreciation."