30 January 2019

Greg Jericho has been complaining for years about the flexible definition of “middle income” used by politicians and swallowed by journalists: “there is no reality in which an Australian worker on $120,000, let alone $200,000, can be classed as a middle-income earner. It is utterly misleading to suggest that someone on $84,600 is middle-income — let alone someone on $158,730.” I’ve always assumed that people who fall for this rhetoric just have a poor understanding of where they sit on the distribution curve, but today I learned there’s more to it than that. A marketing executive told the SMH that choosing an expensive private school for his son was “the equivalent of taking a $30,000 pay cut in salary”. What a neat trick: simply take your extravagant spending decisions, pretend that they are the same as not having money in the first place, and you too can be part of the struggling middle class! Life imitates dril.