Bleats

Treasury Reckons If You Want A Pay Rise You Should Quit More Often

We get it, government: the economy's all our fault.

Hey, had a pay rise recently? Would you like one? Then why haven’t you quit your job, huh?

That’s the gist of the argument being made today in the wake of a lecture by one of the nation’s chief economic stewards, and it’s a doozy.

“More frequent job switching is associated with higher real wage growth, even for those that stay in their job,” explained Federal Treasury deputy secretary Meghan Quinn at the Economic Society of Australia’s annual conference.

And this has been spun as “stubborn workers” refusing to give up their jobs as being a bad thing. And you might think that’s a long bow to draw, that workers are to blame for the thing workers have been complaining about for years.

And here’s the thing: Treasury isn’t even wrong. However, the argument is being spun by deliberately fudging a symptom and suggesting it’s a cause.

The Treasury, today.

If you’re in a thriving economy with strong employment and robust wage growth, you’re far more likely to feel secure about changing jobs since there are many opportunities to be seen.

If, however, you’ve seen wages flatline for the best part of a decade while the cost of living continues to rise, with an economy showing signs of a potential recession down the road and purported employment rises being in insecure work rather than permanent fulltime jobs, you’re more likely to hang on to what you’ve got than risk the unknown.

In other words, job switching is a sign that the economy is flourishing, not a cause of a flourishing economy.

And look, a cynic might wonder why the Treasury would be so keen to suggest that the current state of the economy was because of those struggling in it rather than, say, the government department specifically tasked with overseeing it.

Mind you, it’s just barely more plausible than the curse of an evil warlock. Maybe they’re saving that for the Mid Year Budget Review?

“Mmmwahahahahahaha! A slowing economy has forced us to revise our forecasts! BOW BEFORE THE ECONOMATOR, FOOLS!”

Your Commute Is Doing A Number On You But There's A Way To Make It Work

On yer bike, everyone.

Hey. are you reading this on the way to or from work? Then know this, dear reader: we feel you.

A new study has been discussed by the Conversation, which concludes that capitalism is a flawed system which grinds workers up for profit. Sorry, that should read “that arduous commutes to and from work can be harmful for one’s physical and mental health”.

In related findings, water remains wet.

We checked.

Yes, it’s unlikely that this is news to you as full-time Australian workers in the eastern capitals spend an average of 5.75 hours travelling to and from work in a week.

And it turns out that the method that one uses has an impact on just how awful it is for you.

Here’s a not shock for you: driving to work is easily the most stressful way to commute, and is also the most common. So that’s getting your morning off on an anxiety-inducing note.

That fellow with the walker seems productive!

But there is a solution, of sorts. Another of the findings was that “Those who commute short distances, walk or cycle to work, are more likely to be happy commuters, which makes them more productive.”

And not to to get all structural about it, in Australia work tends to clump in the cities, where walking and riding distance means living in eye-wateringly expensive real estate.

So this could also be phrased as “wealthy people who aren’t in a desperate rush to get to work are happier than poor stressed people”, for the same reasons that boat owners file fewer complaints regarding their treatment by Centrelink.

“I TAKE ISSUE WITH THIS ROBODEBT NOTIIIIIIIIIICE!”

So… um, either you need to get real rich and live within a bike ride of where you work, or bring capitalism down and redistribute the spoils of modern production to all.

Either’s good.

The Minister For Housing Wants To Give Homelessness A 'Positive Spin' So Start Peddling, Mate

Let's rebrand it "agile accomodation"!

You know, in this febrile political environment, it’s so easy to focus on the negative.

And Luke Howarth, your federal Assistant Housing Minister and newly announced Minister for Homelessness, thinks that all you people are making a huge song and dance about Australia’s recent jump in the number of people living in unsafe and insecure accommodation and not focussing on all the people who aren’t sleeping rough, for which he seems to think he’s getting inadequate credit.

“We have 99.5% of our Australians… homed and living in safe place,” he pointed out on Radio National.

“There’s half a per cent of the population that isn’t… I want to put a positive spin on it as well and not just say Australia’s in a housing crisis when it affects a very, very small percentage of the population.”

Sure, it’s not what everyone in the homelessness sector thinks, or what Lords Mayor around the country are saying with regard the increase in people sleeping rough in our cities.

Indeed, Australia has a 14 per cent increase in homelessness between the 2011 and 2016 census, but Howarth has explained that this is apparently “in line with population growth”.

And that makes sense because… wait, what?

If that’s the case, and the population is growing 14 per cent faster than they can be accommodated in the space of five years, isn’t that the literal definition of a housing crisis?

You know, the sort of thing that would unambiguously be the responsibility of the Minister For Homelessness?

Anyway, all those mayors and academics and homelessness workers are just being negative nellies.

Not like Luke Howarth, Positive Spin Doctor.

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