Friday, July 13, 2007

The High Cost of Kevin Rudd

Every other news story at the moment trumpets the 'high cost' of groceries and the tune they're playing is the Kevin Rudd Election Song.

But as the media leaps relatively uncritically on Rudd's claim that groceries are skyrocketing and bangs the drum that might just get Labor elected to Federal Government, here's the truth:

AUSTRALIANS are spending less of their take-home pay on food than they were a decade ago thanks to wage increases that have outstripped food price rises.

As Labor yesterday attempted to add grocery costs to a pre-election hip-pocket armory - which already includes housing affordability - economists said there was little evidence to support the party's claim that grocery prices were spiralling because of a lack of competition among supermarket chains.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that in the 10 years to March 2007, average full-time wages rose 47 per cent. Over the same period, food prices rose 41.3 per cent and inflation was 29.1 per cent.
Unfortunately, when has the truth ever got in the way of what the media wants to hear and wants us to hear?

On last night's A Current Affair (Nine Network), a reporter 'proved' grocery prices were terrible and getting worse not by asking an economist or statistician but by doing a vox pop.

One almost blew a gasket hearing a well-dressed woman in her 50s or early 60s claiming 'Oh yes, my groceries have gone up $30!' and being prompted to repeat it again and again.

The question never asked was 'since when?'

-- Nick

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