Interest rate rise unwanted gift from Christmas Grinch Governor
The Reserve Bank Governor dashed the Christmas spirit of many Australians this week when he raised interest rates yet again, a move Mark Knight captured as less Santa, more grumpy Grinch
READING LEVEL: GREEN
I love drawing cartoons that are based on books, movies, or songs from popular culture. I had an opportunity to do that this week when the news broke that Australia’s Reserve Bank Governor* Philip Lowe was raising interest rates again.
The Governor of the Reserve Bank is the person who controls our central bank and is responsible for the level of interest rates in this country. That means he controls the price of money and by that I mean how much it costs us to borrow money via loans for our houses, cars, credit cards, businesses and investments*.
Money has been very cheap for a long time, interest rates were as low as zero in some countries. That was done to get people to borrow money to buy things, which would stimulate* economic growth. But economies became overheated* with all this cheap money, which led to the prices of things increasing. This rising cost is called inflation. So to stop inflation increasing and prices getting out of control, central banks make money more expensive to buy. They make it harder to borrow by raising the interest rates on our loans.
On the good side, it also raises rates on our savings, which encourages people to save and not spend. But the idea is to make it harder for people to afford their loans so they have less money to spend on other things, which the experts say will reduce inflation. Sounds a bit harsh, doesn’t it? It’s like hitting our hands with a big ruler when we reach for our credit card!
So here we are, it’s Christmas, and we are supposed to be spreading that Christmas cheer by giving gifts to friends and family, and we have the Reserve Bank Governor telling us not to spend and in the process taking money from our pockets with higher interest rates so we can’t! I had one thought. The Grinch who stole Christmas!
The Grinch Who Stole Christmas by Dr Seuss is one of my favourite books. It was made into a movie with actor Jim Carrey playing the role of the hairy green grumpy Grinch. The story, which you probably know, is about a forlorn* green creature that is so upset with folk in a nearby town celebrating Christmas too loudly and joyfully that he decides to steal their Christmas presents, food, decorations and Christmas tree from them to quieten them down. If that doesn’t remind you of our Reserve Bank Governor trying to steal our Christmas by raising interest rates, then I don’t know what does?!
With my idea sorted, I set about transforming Philip Lowe into the Grinch. Instead of a suit he is covered in green hair from head to toe similar to Dr Seuss’s beautiful drawings in the original book. I thought I would have him sitting on Santa’s throne to emphasise the Governor’s idea of the spirit of Christmas. The concept of children having their photo taken with the Grumpy Green Governor instead of Santa was funny and illustrated the idea that this Christmas we are being told to tighten our belts by the head of Australia’s central bank. A child looks on disapprovingly, symbolising* the greater population’s thoughts on the matter.
Despite the Grinch Governor’s attempts to steal Christmas, may I wish all students and teachers a very Merry Christmas and a joyful summer holiday break!
- governor: person in charge of an organisation or of a particular political unit
- investments: assets or items bought to make money or grow in value over time
- stimulate: encourage something or someone to grow, develop, or become active
- overheated: when the economy has grown too fast, leading to inflation
- forlorn: unhappy, sad, miserable, sorrowful
- illustrated: made clear, visible or understandable using pictures
- symbolising: representing, expressing, or identifying an idea, place or person by a symbol
- Who is Philip Lowe?
- What does Mark Knight mean when he says Philip Lowe controls the price of money?
- What is one good thing about interest rate rises?
- Which famous children’s author wrote The Grinch Who Stole Christmas?
- Who starred as the title role in the film version?
LISTEN TO THIS STORY
1. What happens next
Imagine this cartoon is part of a story that is made up of three cartoons. The three cartoons tell a complete story, and Mark’s cartoon is the start of the story. Think about what the story could be and draw the next two cartoons that tell the story.
Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Visual Arts; Visual Communication Design; Critical and Creative Thinking
Being able to draw is only one of the skills needed to be a great cartoonist. Write a list of all of the other skills that you think cartoonists like Mark need to do their job.
Next to each skill, write a sentence that explains why that skill is important or helps them to do a great job.
Time: allow at least 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Personal and Social Capability; Media Arts; Visual Communication Design
Stretch your sentence
Find a “who” in the cartoon – a person or an animal. Write it down.
Add three adjectives to describe them better.
Now add a verb to your list. What are they doing?
Add an adverb about how they are doing the action.
Using all the words listed, create one descriptive sentence.