The government is crowing about the cut in interest rates, claiming that it shows that its economic policies are paying off. It spruiks the cuts as taking care of the needs of its pet target group, "working families" who are complaining about financial stress. The opposition is making its own noises about cost-of-living pressures in the hope of scaring potential voters to rust on to its parties. Most of the widespread media responses are stories of how pressured families will welcome the presumed mortgage payment cuts. They report on cases who claim the cut will make a difference between living on the edge and maybe being able save. This reporting reinforces the idea of financial disasters being very close for most of the population.

This reporting is part of a widespread belief that we are doing it tough. Families feel they are facing increasing bills but reducing income. Some politicians tell them more cuts to their living standards are coming with more financial pressures from new taxes. The government claims most are overcompensated, which makes one wonder why tax them? It all adds to the sense that financial crises are here and about to get worse.

Therefore, when NATSEM, a respected research group, produces figures showing that our financial income has increased faster than the rising costs, there is a level of incredulity. It claims: