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Dad, do you think anyone knows what's going on any more?
What do you mean, son?
It's just everything seems so confusing at the moment?
The country's struggling to balance its budget one minute and then it's suddenly got heaps of money for all sorts of things.
No. It hasn't got heaps of money. It's borrowing it.
Because the economists say we're facing a financial crisis and we need more money to keep the country running.
But, Dad, the economists said house prices were about to crash. They've gone up. And loans have got cheaper.
That's true. They did fluff that one.
And they said people wouldn't be spending much but they are. They're even buying new cars, cool, luxury ones.
They said the tourism business was bust but you can't find a place to stay half the time. The Covid hotels are booked out.
They said there'd be mass unemployment but companies are screaming out for workers.
That's true. But they're always screaming out for workers because they need people to do the mucky sort of hard work jobs, son. No one wants to do mucky, hard work, even in tough times.
Well, they don't need to. They can get money through the dole.
But, Dad, we have the dole for people who can't find work.
Well that was the original idea, I know but nowadays......
See? Things are going crazy. The economists didn't even seem to know some of the businesses that have closed were on death's door anyway. Everyone knew online shopping was putting shops out of business. Don't economists read the news?
Look, I dunno. I dunno.
Why are they deliberately frightening everyone? And then telling us to be kind?
Look I dunno, son.
What happened in the old days when things went bad for the country?
People just had to man up and get on with their lives.
Dad, did you say man up? Man up? You're showing your age Dad with those gender stereotype quips.
I know. I know. But Grandpa's generation knew how to cope. When things went tits up he'd say: Don't worry, mate. She'll be right.
And you think things are tits up at the moment...but she'll be right?
Yes, son. But I wouldn't put it quite like that to your mother.
- Businessman Barry Colman is the former publisher of the National Business Review.