While I feel for people who are losing or in danger of losing their jobs in the current financial climate, I can't help thinking that it ought to have been expected. We had 11 years of 'growth' under the Howard government, with dropping unemployment, and bright prospects. But during that time, encouraged by those bright prospects, hundreds of businesses and thousands of individuals funded their comfort and expansion on debt, hoping (but never daring to say, or being advised to consider) that the good times would stay forever. They didn't. Consider this. Mittagong is a town of just over 7,000 people in the southern highlands of NSW. In the last three years it has gained a D i c k Smith, a Big W, a huge Woolworths, and a Bunnings with its own postcode. Now, next to the Big W they are building an Aldi. Can anyone see the problem here? Just next to where I live there is a Woolworths, Stocklands Mall, a huge Bunnings, and less than a kilometre away there is a Magnet Mart (hardware) and a Mitre Ten (hardware) right beside each other. Magnet Mart is closing; surprise, surprise. Strathfield Car Radio, famous as discounters, has gone to the wall. Someone forgot to tell the management that you have to make a profit, eventually, or you go bust. You can't fund a business on debt when credit gets tight. ABC Learning Centres, anyone??? And don't get me started on the shell-game of the noughties 'you need your own investment property to look after you in your retirement'.