It says something about the shallowness of public policy debate in Australia that much of the commentariat and most of the business community is still obsessing about the need for economic reform (company tax cuts, industrial relations deregulation, cutting red tape etc) even as evidence grows that wage stagnation is the key economic and political challenge. It has taken the governor of the Reserve Bank saying wage stagnation is a major problem and a roadblock to economic reform to get many commentators seriously interested in it -- and only then to argue that the easiest way to increase wages is to give employers greater powers to slash wages.

Well, more evidence emerged today, as economic thinktank CEDA holds its annual shindig in Canberra on "shifting the dial" on economic reform. It also released polling from a 3000-strong sample on community perceptions around reform, and the results -- summarised in this graph -- are utterly dire.