THE GREAT AUSTRALIAN RIP OFF
If we’re so well off, why do we feel so ripped off?
Every major economic indicator points to Australia being the Lucky Country. The Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report ranks us the wealthiest people in the world.
We should be dancing in the streets.
Yet, from bus stop to boardroom, on talkback and the tele, all the talk from our politicians is negative.
“Households are doing it tough,” says a stony-faced Prime Minister.
“The cost of living keeps going up and up,” drones Dr No.
The federal opposition wants us to blame the government, while Labor wants to appear in touch with ‘working families’.
But a comprehensive analysis by the Bureau of Statistics in September found, in real terms, we’re richer than we were six years ago.
(Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. Those on fixed incomes, such as pensions, are doing it tough.)
So why do we feel so poor?
It’s because every time we turn around, someone has their hand in our pockets.
Everyday rip-offs like:
*The $2 fee to use a foreign ATM, which costs the bank 74c. (Actually, pretty much any banking fee from account keeping to overdrafts to finding out your balance. For a comprehensive list, go here.)
*Telstra charging a $30 per month fee for the privilege of having a home phone.
*CBD parking rates of up to $200 a day
*Eye-watering Council fines for overstaying at a parking meter.
*Airport parking almost double the cost of a domestic flight.
*Late fees exceeding the cost of the inconvenience, especially for phone bills, DVDs, and credit cards.
*Replacement fees. Why does it cost $25 for a new driver’s licence?
*Incremental charging. You need a magnifying glass to read telecommunications bills these days.
*Insurance companies charging exorbitant premiums then refusing to pay out. (This will only get worse with a means test on private health insurance rebate.)
*A dress at the shopping mall costing three times as much as the same item in the US.
*Coles and Woolies jacking up the price of petrol to protect their profits from discount vouchers.*
*Hidden costs. I discovered last week that my dentist had been charging $10 each visit for an “oral hygiene talk”. At the age of 44, I have managed to work out how to brush my teeth.
The list goes on.
And when you have a problem? There’s no-one there to listen.
Seniors often say they didn’t have a lot of money, but still felt rich.
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