The Bogan is Doing it Tough

Australia is Doing it Tough. At least this is what we are led to believe, courtesy of a chorus of political and business leaders who lean on this phrase any time they wish to be seen to understand the traumas that Australians, bogan and non-bogan alike, face on a daily basis. We are constantly told about rising electricity prices, rising food prices, Great Big New Taxes and how others are Doing it Tough; of course, the bogan population knows that it is a better battler than others who are Doing it Tough, so it will squeal futilely into the void that times are hard.

Years of high interest rates since 1992 have created an economy in which the bogan cannot live in the manner to which it is accustomed. This applies to all bogans, from those whose Raw Flat Screen Area Ratio (RFSAR) is less than 90% of its neighbours’, to those just trying to get by in the hard-hit areas of Melbourne like Toorak and South Yarra. There, small business owner Corrie Perkin suggests that potential customers may lean towards online sales instead of visiting her quaint independent bookshop. “A tough choice in a tough economic climate” says Ms Perkin.

Statements such as this make a great deal of sense to the bogan, as it knows how hard things are to make ends meet when there are high-end consumables to consume. After all, interest rates are at about 62% of the 40-year average, unemployment is at 70% of the 40-year average, GDP growth has already resumed a steady upwards trajectory and the drought has broken.

This confluence of challenging factors led us at Boganomics to consider conditions under which Australians aren’t Doing it Tough. These conditions tend to arise with a frequency similar to the emergence of the painted lady butterfly to migrate. Seriously, we looked it up. Upon looking at two critical, closely linked variables that affect the level at which the bogan considers itself to be doing it tough, we have conceived of the ‘Doing it Tough Threshold’:

This is the point below which both the cash rate and the national unemployment rate need to fall in order for Australia’s battling aspirational class can feel secure in their financial lot in life. As you can see, over the past 30 years, the bogan has had precious few months during which it felt at peace with the world around it.

The bogan knows that the key indicator of national economic performance is interest rates. As the bogan has spent the past decade leveraging itself into a dank corner with an expensive settee, the only prism through which it can view its financial status is the size of the interest repayments on the various bills it receives on its multitudinous instruments of debt. This is driven by increases in interest rates, and fed by a media grateful to have such a simple number to report.

The number that the bogan should probably focus on, but doesn’t, is the rate of inflation.

Suddenly the truth becomes apparent, that the greatest economic indicator of social ill has been hovering well below the DiT Threshold for twenty years. The reason? It’s the fault of the mother of all greedy banks: the RBA. Any time in the last 20 years that inflation has even contemplated heading outside the 2-3% target band, the RBA has mercilessly gouged the bogan by sending the 90 day cash rate light years beyond the Doing it Tough threshold on that metric. The RBA’s consistent manipulation of interest rates ensures that the price bogans are paying for their air conditioning units remains within the affordable range.

As you can see, the Doing it Tough threshold sits at 5% on all of the three different macroeconomic indicators. This is consistent with the bogan-cherished institution of “five percent Friday”, where the bogan attempts to shoehorn itself into a clandestine long weekend by spending a minimum of 95% of its Friday not doing its job. Anything above 5% output also constitutes Doing it Tough. I digress – back to interest rates.

The RBA’s interest rate foul play provides a reliable monthly article on major news websites, and the media loves it. Thus, every month, when there is a near-pornographic obsession in the trashmedia with the upcoming announcements on interest rates, ‘journalists’ rapidly calculate the monthly cost of the overleveraged bogan’s average mortgage repayments. The media’s fixation on ‘cost of living’ is both cause and effect of the bogan’s adamant estimation of itself as the underdog in a nation dominated by overdogs.

Moreover, according to the New York Times, Australia is performing rather well on a range of economic and social indicators. Australia, in this instance, is a global overdog:This data does little to reassure the bogan that it is not the human embodiment of suffering, however. All of the colours and numbers in the table have given it a delayed-onset headache, which (after a weekend of binge drinking, consuming petrol as recreation, and giving its credit card a general working over) will flare up into a full-blown migraine on Monday morning, leaving the bogan with little choice but to pull a sickie and Do it Tough on the couch.

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  1. This is great for Friday – LOL. Bring on more boganomics.

    Why thank you. We plan on maintaining a regular Friday week-in-bogan-business/finance/economics for your edification. It’s a pleasure to be on board here. TBL

  2. The real data (aside from the fudged ‘official’ ABS data) shows real unemployment to be around 10%.
    If one worked for 2 hours a fortnight, one is counted as ’employed’.How many people can pay for petrol, food, electricity, etc on TWO HOURS WORK A FORTNIGHT?
    GDP data is also seriously fudged,as well as nearly all economic statistics.
    It’s all about keeping (Bogan) sentiments up and spending.

    As long as the bogans shut up and keep spending (and don’t forget the drug of the nation-‘Footy’!)

    • Regarding unemployment figures, do not forget the record amount of people on the Disability pension who are now no longer considered unemployed = 800,000.

      I was one of those casualised workers, In the construction industry. Bottom line is I went from a really well paying job to chasing a day here and there.

      So I did what any rational person would do, signed up for the disability pension (psychiatric illness) now I get about $20,000 a year and a heap of benefits.

  3. This is your best work thus far TBL… Hilarious nail on head stuff. Who would have thought that I called laugh so hard at a topical article that wasn’t written by Andrew Bolt?

  4. I never knew, and no one could ever explain the causes of Mondyitis, and why so many people are infected by it.

    I think you may have discovered the cause.


    What’s not funny is I know people (very well) just like that.

  5. Fantastic to have you guys here – welcome aboard.

    I just came back from Boganville (Bunbury WA – where my proprietary Kebab Price Index (KPI) showed a distinct bogan inflationary regime in place, probably due to all the miners. I think I saw 2 more-than-four year old cars in my whole time there as well…)

    Now that I am in Old Bogan Village (Hervey Bay), my KPI has settled down a bit.

    Although the number of ads for real estate around here is mindblowing!

  6. Well done, I’ve had to read it several times to grasp it all but that’s my problem. Graphs always help. Is there a Bogan debt versus wage curve, or debt/franchise saturation pie chart? (Mmmm Pie)

  7. This blog just gets better and better.

    Seriously, my partner is going to kill me… because between macrobusiness & TBL I’m either:

    a) desperately trying to convince her not to buy another house (we just sold one xmas eve, thank christ) and bank the cash for a while; or

    b) pointing at things and saying “Things Bogans Like”.

    It’s like I finally understand living in Australia. Thank you *sniff*

  8. I use the Domestic Violence Index [DVI]. The frequency of reported domestic violence increases as retail sales figures slow.
    There is a surprisingly strong negative correlation!

  9. Just as long as the Pandora stocks stay at an even keel! If they drop, domestic violence will escalate….

  10. My two favourite blogs have come together. Fantastic. Great piece, I look forward to more economic Things the Bogan Likes.

  11. A lone dissenter. Sorry guys – I have come to know a lot of ‘bogans’. Here in Perth predominantly “CUBS” – Cashed Up Bogans, connected to the mining industry. You know what – they’re fine.

    They love their kids. They love their mums (and sometimes their dads). CUBS know that they’ve struck the jackpot – little education and terrific paycheques and they do know it won’t last forever. In a funny kind of way, they don’t care. Live life in the moment may well be their motto.

    – and boy-o-boy does it peeve the educated middle class. “I spent three/four years are uni and these guys are earning ….(I would guess $150k+).” And the EMC hate it.

    Frankly, I don’t get the hate. And don’t think it is a good direction for this superblog. Reeks of superciliousness and envy.


    This dissent may stem from your decision to define the bogan on narrow terms. The bogan is as the bogan does. If the bogan is a harmless, friendly parent who is not deeply in debt, then they really aren’t exhibiting any bogan tendencies. Being wealthy and middle class, while a strong indicator, does not automatically a bogan make. TBL

    • Spend some time with then in a corporate box at the WACA watching a Test bewteen Indian and Australia. A lack of appreciation for the traditional form of the game is one thing but racist undertones and cat caling just make you want to gag as the booze bites (I’m not racist but…, and their food is great but…).

      I earn more than your magical $150K per year and don’t need to spend 2 weeks out of 4 in a sewer with the itellectual amoeba of Australia.

      A sound investment:

  12. It’s not just bogans who are seemingly forever ‘doing it tough’. Aussie culture is based on a sense of entitlement, irrespective of the social class; hence the never-ending whinging from all strata regarding ‘guvment’ not doing enough to support them.

  13. To ‘live in the moment’ sounds awfully like ‘buy now pay later’. And if you can’t afford to pay later? No problem, just take a bailout from the rest of us.

  14. Not all ‘bogans’ are lumpenproletariat.

    787 Dudliner – Thanks for the link. Probably made by third year arts students, realising they’ve been sold a dud by their teachers (don’t get a trade, go to uni), discovering there are degrees and then there are degrees, and they are not doing the right one. Went to school with Stevo, he finished his apprenticeship and headed up north. Makes the bucks. Drives a good car. Goes overseas regularly. Can afford to drink in pubs and dine in restaurants. But they’re intellectual and cool (der, arts) and reject his lifestyle.

    I decline all invitations to corporate boxes and don’t like cricket, can’t help you there. Racism is abhorrent wherever it appears. If honest you may admit that it is not confined the “bogan” class and dare I suggest you may have even have heard a cleverly disguised racist comment come from the aspirational in corporate boxes. Finally, $150K is not a ‘magical’ figure, it is simply my best guess at the average income for CUBS. And believe me, it does piss a lot of people off. Mostly those that have average degrees in ordinary disciplines and know that they will never earn incomes comparable to the above (most of corporate Australia would view these salaries as very ordinary indeed!). Builds resentment. “I’m educated I deserve more than these guys”. Fuels envy. I don’t work FIFO but on occasion am required to visit major projects. I have always found workers, in the main, a very pleasant group of individuals. Can’t really explain why I am so defensive of them! Perhaps sick of the pseudo-intellectual discrimination that is so apparent at all levels of Australian society. In relation to CUBS – you may disapprove of their music, you may not like the decor of their homes but get to know a few of these (mostly) hardworking guys, and then tell me you don’t like them as individuals.

    I clearly did not make my point well.

    As an aside, visited TBL site and the list of likes included a few of my own – perhaps I’m bogan.

  15. The other classic thing to remember is the complete disregard for the environment. Forget carbon emissions from the coal mine where all the lolly comes from. These are the people who leave Maxtreme bottles and cans every where at the lake or beach, rip up fire trails in the wet so they can’t be used, leave fishing tackle everywhere, chuck confetti round at the slightest excuse, shoot native wildlife if they can’t find pigs, release pigs into the wild etc.

    That’s just the tip of the (melting?) iceberg. Any restriction on environmental degradation or control of their lifestyle to avoid harm, pollution or spoiling other people’s enjoyment of the world is the “bloody whingeing greenies!”.

    Ultimate consumption of pointless crap is wasteful and abusive of those actually doing it tough in factories in China, India etc. But who gives a shit – they are foreign anyway – kind of a fantasy (like dragons)unless they are in a boat coming here.

    They are bogans and despised by those with a bit more awareness and world view because they are so self-centred.

    I know plenty of miners (and ex-miners) and it is that shit attitude, not the fact they make an additional 50% more than me. Plenty of the miners are actually top people and have the shits with these idiots as well.

    Love the Boganomics initiative.

    • spot on champ.

      you won’t find a more obnoxious specimen of sub-human than the bogan nouveau-riche.

    • I want to declare that I was a Bogan once.
      When I get drunk though I think it leaches out of me and I show who I really am, but I don’t litter or put shit on people who are disadvantaged.
      I’m not taking the piss, I’m just looking at myself in the mirror and being honest.
      I was a concretor, then a builder, a real estate agent and now a trainer and assessor and while I look down my nose at the bogan, I can’t help think of where I’ve come from, but I evolved somehow and rose above the expected behaviour that bogans demand from there cohorts.
      What I find the most frustrating about bogan behaviour though is when they are at their worst, I feel powerless to do something about the situation in fear of being bashed up, as lets face it, if we could fight as well as them, we wouldn’t have a problem?
      On a final note! HSV and HRT have managed to harness the bogans spending money and they do it so well!

  16. One problem with high mining wages is that costs for building trades in metropolitan areas compete. Part of the reason for house price growth is surely underpinned by the massive uptick in building costs, particularly renovations. Of course this doesn’t seem to be reflected in cpi growth which i’m sure only monitors 1 imported DVD player in the basket of goods.

  17. That’s misleading headline writing! I was expecting an article on the Chief Bogan’s travails with the Greens!