The term "trickle-down economics" has fallen out of favour in recent years. The many detractors of the model point to wealth hoarding and the growing gap between rich and poor as evidence against the idea. A similar phenomenon which appears harder to dismiss is "trickle-down economic problems", which the state has been suffering under substantially in recent weeks.
On Wednesday, Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff put forward the state's offer to nurses as they prepared for a 15-minute strike at the LGH. The deal arrived off the back of a lengthy dialogue with the Australian Nurses and Midwives Federation, one of several union and peak body disputes to arise in the last few weeks.
Inflation and the accompanying rising cost of living has brought into stark contrast the flat wage growth evident around the nation in recent years, even more so in Tasmania, where wages frequently fall behind those on the mainland.
When low wages meet a rising cost of living, union disputes eventuate pretty predictably. Most states are pointing to inflationary measures out of their control and originating further up the governmental chain. The new federal Labor government is pointing the finger to the previous government, who in turn previously pointed the finger to the global macro-economy where inflation is running rampant after two years of COVID chaos.
When announcing its latest rate hike on Tuesday, the Reserve Bank of Australia toed the now well-trodden RBA line, that inflation is too high and the rate rise is simply a response to that environment, rather than looking to the RBA policies which may have contributed to our current inflationary predicament in the first place.
Everyone's hands are tied. Each level of government is pointing up to the next as the source of their economic issues, but ultimately - and as always - it's those further down who are feeling the pinch. While the money doesn't appear to have trickled down, the problems have come down in buckets. That said, combatting a nationwide problem with local or statewide budgets would be no easy task.
This was evident when fuel prices went through the ceiling earlier this year and the Tasmanian government brought its expensive free public transport policy, while it waited for the federal government to cut the fuel excise and bring fuel prices back down. Combatting a nationwide issue with a statewide budget isn't an easy task.
Tempering this sympathy, however, are the myriad examples when each level of government has taken credit for the economy doing well.
Whether it's local, state or federal, when the economy is prosperous it is always because of the steady hand of whichever mayor, premier or prime minister happens to be in the seat at the time. Fast forward to today and it's surprising how these same leaders treat the economy as a fickle and unknowable entity, entirely untamable.
Meanwhile, the problems keep bucketing down and everyone is looking for someone to blame. Our leaders should remember, however, that whoever they point at today will be well-placed to take credit in the future. Accountability is funny like that - you can't just pick it up when it suits you.
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