It is a topic that comes up daily.
Tell us how badly we are doing. Surely consumers are going backward all the time. There is much hardship.
Petrol, electricity and food prices keep going up by 10 percent to 30 percent with tolling still coming. Municipalities, medical aids, building levies and schools keep upping prices as if unaware of core CPI inflation being only 4.3 percent.
Supermarkets prices of certain items have a habit of suddenly jumping by 10 percent.
Jobs are lost as employers manage their wage bills, shaving away what they can no longer accommodate, replacing staff with clever technology and fabulous economies of scale, existing staff invited to do more.
So don't give us any good news. It is nothing short of insulting. Give us the truth.
If unvarnished truth is wanted, do accept facts, the bad along with the good.
These past three years the nation has increased its real income by three percent annually. That's R100-billion real money being added to the national pot every year at current prices.
That's a lot of extra income over time.
Chances are excellent that many won't share in this extra real income, for not all have equal negotiating power.
On a population of 50-million and labour force of 20-million (aged 15 to 65), we have nearly 7-million unemployed and discouraged.
Such people are not without income. There are informal opportunities that slip through official surveys and there are various social welfare grants.
But by how much is their real income changing? Perhaps it isn't enough to compensate for inflation, considering food and transport (with by far the highest inflation) constituting a large part of their expenditure.
Then there are 4-million informally active, earning relatively little and not having much negotiating power, even when backed by legislation (such as farm workers and domestic servants).
By how much is their real income gaining, compared to being eroded away by high food and transport costs?
Then there are pensioners, many having limited incomes probably not keeping pace with cost increases. Neither government old age pensions nor interest income may increase fast enough to maintain often humble living standards.
Article continues on page two and three: whether you believe it or not, the cake IS expanding...