With the federal budget handed down and the battle lines emerging for the next election, Australia's intergenerational gap is shaping up as a major political issue.
The Coalition is promising a host of sweeteners for retired voters while Labor is promising to pump more money into education and get housing prices down. If you're a voter, there's a good chance your view of those promises will be informed by the year you were born.
Do we need to be worried about Australia's economic outlook?
The Reserve Bank of Australia reckons that the next move in official interest rates is more likely to be up than down. RBA Governor has said so in recent weeks as he talks up the prospects for the economy over the next year or two.
This is disconcerting news for everyone out there with a mortgage or a small business loan, especially in a climate where the business sector is doing it tough and when wages growth is floundering near record lows. The good news is that the RBA is likely to be wrong and the next move in interest rates could be down, such is the run of recent news on the economy. Failing an interest rate cut, the hard economic facts suggest that any interest rate rises are a long way into the future and if they do come, there will not be all that many.
At this point, it is important to bring together the issues that would need to unfold to see the RBA pull the lever to hike interest rates. At the simplest level, the start of an interest rate hiking cycle would need to see annual GDP growth above 3.25 per cent, the unemployment rate falling to 5 per cent and less, wages growth lifting towards 3 per cent and more and underlying inflation increasing to 2.5 per cent.
This is where the RBA expectation for higher interest rates is on very thin ice.