There was some sobering economic reality at my place yesterday.
My street had a truck vacuum in it, sucking all the crap out of the drains, so there was the obligatory 800 metres of cones and two stop go people.
Stop/go people have had a 28 percent wage rise on average this past year. I know this because I told you yesterday - the Seek job ad numbers tell us the 28 percent has taken them to about $46,000 a year.
Do you know that journalists - varies I assume from organisation to organisation - start in the low $40,000s, so flipping a stop/go sign is more valuable than journalism.
Then Kate shows me the 4 packets of 300 grams of mince she has bought. It's about 40 bucks for a bit over 1 kilogram of mince. It's in 300 grams she says because putting mince in a 1 kilo pack would freak people out. She is right, but the 4 small packets freaked me out.
The checkout operators have got a 28 percent wage rise too; they are on mid $40,000s as well. Without wanting to start a fight, I'd argue there is more skill required on check outs than there is in lollipop flipping. Either way, both earn more than a starting journalist
I'd also argue, without wanting to start a fight, that the machines where you do the checking out yourself need expanding upon, because part of the reason mince is so expensive is because the people who tell you how much it is and take your money have had a 28 percent wage rise
And as happy as you might be for people earning more, the cold hard economic reality is we aren't making any more or doing any better - we are simply putting the price of stuff up.
Everyone else, of course, involved with the Government has had wage rises, and for a number of them minimum wages and benefits have all gone up several times. Once again, for no good productivity. The reason? Just because we did.
And when the lollipop person is on mid $40,000s, people on mid $40,000s quite rightly want mid $50,000s if not more, and so it goes.
Nothing wrong with a high wage economy, but you have to actually do something for it.
We are in a warped world now, where work of minimal use and skill is better paid than what you might call a profession.
A world where reward comes from closed borders and a determination to limit the labour supply.
This is the recipe for economic ruin. It's why today's Budget will be in deficit, why the debt will be higher, and why the growth numbers will be anaemic if not non-existent.
A nurse starts at $53,000, a teacher $52,000, a dental assistant $46,000 and a lollipop person? $46,000.
You've got to be kidding me.