Of razor gangs, budget cuts and the policy mix

In the Channel Nine series Underbelly Razor – as in real life – Sydney’s criminal matriarch Tilly Devine did not hesitate to wield the razor to keep her motley empire in line and protect it against incursion by rival gangs. It appears Julia Gillard approaches the task of achieving a budget surplus in 2012-13 with a similar ferocity of intent. Continue reading

Posted in Budget, Gillard Government, Global Financial Crisis, Interest Rates, Mining Boom, Reserve Bank | Leave a comment

Gender pay gap: why do male CEOs with daughters pay women more?

Dad, can I have a pay rise?

Should a woman tending to personal care needs of an elderly person be paid more or less than a male garbage disposal worker? The government’s decision to support a pay rise for 150,000 social and community services workers delivers a well-earned boost to the pay packets of some of our most under-appreciated workers. But Fair Work Australia’s new powers to assess pay discrimination cases based on “equal or comparable work” open a can of worms. Continue reading

Posted in Behavioural Economics, Employment, Inequality | Leave a comment

Like cholesterol, inequality cuts both ways

Speaking of cholesterol...

SHOULD we worry about rising inequality? Protests across the United States under the Occupy Wall Street banner are in part a spontaneous outcry at the outrageous post-crisis salaries of Wall Street “bailoutees”. But they also find roots in a deeper, multi-decade trend of rising inequality in the US. Continue reading

Posted in Global Financial Crisis, Inequality | 2 Comments

The true cost of NIMBYism

A home is the biggest purchase most Australians will make in their lifetime and yet most of us know very little about the forces that determine what types of homes are available to live in and what we must pay for them. Most of us think we have a pretty good idea of what our homes should be worth, but home prices, like prices for all private goods and services, are ultimately decided by the forces of supply and demand. Continue reading

Posted in Housing, Reserve Bank | Leave a comment

Should we worry about not “making stuff”?

People making stuff

Do you sometimes worry about Australia becoming a place that doesn’t “make things” any more? Let me lighten your load. Kevin Rudd used to worry about such things. In his first press conference as opposition leader in 2006, Rudd stressed he wanted to be the prime minister of “a country that actually makes things”. Continue reading

Posted in Employment | Leave a comment

Euro zone a car crash: best keep your eyes on the road

Lamborghini on fire... Italy?

You know how most of the traffic created by a car crash is not the crash itself, but everyone slowing down to have a rubberneck? Well, the same thing can happen with economies. And fair enough, the unfolding car crash that is the euro zone is a pretty horrific sight. It’s hard to look away. Continue reading

Posted in Banks, Budget, Currency, Employment, Gillard Government, Global Financial Crisis, Interest Rates, Mining Boom, Reserve Bank | 1 Comment

Trouble keeping up with Euro woes? Get used to it.

Mamma Mia. Where are those happy days? They seem so hard to find. The Greek tragi-comedic musical continues to play on continuous loop. Leading characters are still struggling to sing from the same song sheet, emitting only a discordant jumble of sound and fury to set investor nerves a jangling. Which would be entertaining, if it weren’t so potentially lethal for the global credit system and world economy. Continue reading

Posted in Budget, Global Financial Crisis, Interest Rates | Leave a comment