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Stop whingeing. Life is getting easier

(The Age)THE little Aussie battler, it seems, would be better called the little Aussie whinger. Australian consumers, too busy crying poor, have failed to realise that almost everything — from food and alcohol to cars, and even petrol — is becoming more affordable.

Although many would argue the opposite, the average person’s spending power has increased markedly over the past five years. Wages have risen by 25 per cent and taxes have been cut, while consumer prices have risen by just 14 per cent in the same time.

Commsec chief equities economist Craig James has dubbed it a chronic case of money myopia. “The average Aussie consumer is affected by both money myopia and price pessimism, tending to believe that their financial position has worsened rather than improved over time,” he says. And although consumers might not fully appreciate it, most are enjoying their new wealth, buying bigger homes and investment properties and signing up for new deals such as internet access, pay TV and international holidays, he says.

Using data from the Consumer Price Index, a measure of the household income required to buy basic goods, Mr James calculates the average weekly wage would now buy 710 litres of milk compared to 531 litres five years ago, and 418 loaves of bread compared to 277. And despite grumblings about the cost at the bowser, he says today’s average weekly wage earner could buy almost 1300 litres of petrol compared to just 730 litres five years ago. More…

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