ON AIR: Mike Hosking Breakfast

6AM - 9AM

Mike's Minute: $100k 'poverty'? Or a pity party for people who can't budget?

Newstalk ZB ,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 30 May 2018, 6:18AM

We have a theme developing that we need to be aware and wary of.

And that is the idea being floated about by social agencies, and being picked up and run with with alacrity by the media, that no matter what you earn we're all broke and all need food aid. And basically making ends meet is too hard.

It started, of course, a number of years back with the so-called 'working poor': people who had jobs, often more than one, but were still struggling allegedly to make ends meet.

This week's headline is: "High paid families feeling the squeeze as costs pile up". 
The claim being that there are now people earning more than $100,000 a year who can't make ends meet.

Now the simple question I have is: who is the person who's going to call this for what it is? It's BS.

When are we going to draw a bit of a line in the sand over an industry of people who need poverty, deprivation, hard times and misery to justify their jobs and existence.

At what point is someone going to start suggesting that there is a very, very, very big difference between a person on the bones of their bum because of welfare, and a person pleading poverty on six figures.

The original measure of hard times involved welfare, and perhaps a series of circumstances normally beyond people's control. A very limited budget and a couple of things that had gone wrong. A bad loan, a broken washing machine, a medical bill, some debt had built up, things had got a bit out of hand.

I think most of us got that, understood it and had sympathy for it.

Then we got the 'working poor', and we got that too. Low paid work, random rosters, rising bills. There would be some who would find times tough.

But the day we start to believe that $100,000+ is not enough is the day we have lost connection to reality.

Can you struggle on that sort of money? Of course you can, if you are hopeless with finances.

And that's the key to the story. Are they the 'working poor'? Or just useless with money?

The danger of peddling the 100-grand victims line is that it's designed to build sympathy around the idea that life is too expensive, that hard times are littered among so many of us, that it's just hard yards being in this country.

And it simply isn't true.

If you earn that sort of money and you can't make it work, you need advice, not sympathy. You need a calculator and a budget and you need some discipline.

And I wonder if these many agencies who pedal the ongoing series of 'woe is me' stories are really offering any of that.

Or are they simply patting the poor saps on the knee and going dear 'oh dear, never mind have a food parcel', then going whining to the media for a headline.

The pity industry is out of control, fed by a media that no longer asks questions or makes any sort of sensible judgements and just laps up a press release. And we need to call it for what it is.

ON AIR: Mike Hosking Breakfast

6AM - 9AM