Come on RBA, get those rates up you good thing
Now I have vacated the job of helping edit news.com.au, let me reveal my dreadful desire to write an almost unthinkable headline: “Rates hike means more gain for savers”.
It’s pretty well inconceivable that any major media outlet would lead with this sentiment for fear of alienating all the hard-pressed homeowners, the millions of working families and Aussie battlers feeling the pinch in the ever-tightening mortgage belt.
This holds true from the most rabid reactionary radio shock jock, through the marching minions of Murdochdom (I am yet to hand back the company-issued electric shock collar), to the fairy floss fops of Fairfax and even unto the ABC commissars of collectivist cant.
Rate rises, which by law must be referred to as “hikes” in tabloidese, are always couched in terms of “threat”, “risk”, “gloom and “pain”.
If they don’t occur it leads to the rapid journalistic deployment of “relief” and perhaps also “spared”, “respite” and even “hope”.
Being generally less welcome than Eddie McGuire’s special commentary on the gay mardi gras, rate rises just can’t get good press.
Though it will undoubtedly earn much ire, let me baldly state what many would find uncharitable, if not downright unacceptable and unAustralian.
Three cheers for interest rate rises.
C’mon RBA keeping ratcheting ‘em up, go you good thing Glenn Stevens, bump higher those basis points.
Yes, this is mostly selfish and not because I pretend to understand the intricacies of monetary policy beyond the fact that M1 can mean something other than a highway.
I am about to go on an overseas trip and higher rates give the Aussie dollar a tickle-up.
This fuels my dreams of sleeping inside occasionally or at least buying thicker newspapers to lie on.
I know it is irrational and not so good for exporters but it’s also hard not to feel a twinge of nationalistic pride at seeing the little gilt-edged Aussie battler seriously go the Greenback or pound the pound.
Painfully I remember when proffering wads of Australian notes across the counter of an overseas bank or money booth would elicit the exchange rate of one disdainful look, a muffled snort, some loose change shaken out of the coffee jar and, if you were lucky, three tufts of pocket lint.
I do realise not even the prospect of the all-devouring dollar comforts those in hock for a house or tussling with the bank to keep open a business.
There is the also the risk that costly credit could make the economy stall faster than Russell Crowe’s singing career.
However I think you can still question a news narrative that unfailingly elevates the interests of a partially propertied class over the hopes of a shamefully marginalised minority, which I happen to belong to, those who save money.
Well, let’s be proud to get back in black and decry the discrimination inflicted upon the forgotten heroes of hoard.
The banks’ interest in interest usually stops some way short of paying it out.
As well as the ritual hawk-eyed rush to round on the banks for raising home loan rates perhaps there should be more attention paid to any concurrent reluctance to “hike” account returns.
The tax system offers little incentive to savers, generally demanding you cough up again on the money earned by money which has already been taxed.
Most of the tax breaks and windfalls, such as negative gearing and the recent first home buyers’ grant, are more likely to encourage those eager to take fickle financial flight on the currency currents of overdraft.
My grandparents used to say of me that I would “turn every penny over twice” before spending it but they weren’t entirely disapproving unless I didn’t give them their penny back and tried to fob them off with a button.
Their attitudes were tempered by the Great Depression and led to much head shaking at all the Baby Boomer extravagance.
Just as I shake my head at the Gen Ys and Xs and annoy my wife for the umpteenth time by asking whether the TV ads indicate people actually pay to get a different mobile ringtone.
Gratifyingly it sometimes seems the GFC has made newly respectable scrimping, investing and living within your means, after years where the glamour largely attached to those finding ever fancier ways to gold emboss IOUs.
Not everyone can emulate Scrooge, or we would indeed be economically screwed, but it does seem some balance needs restoring when only borrowers get the headline treatment.
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