opinion

BAREFOOT INVESTOR: I was slammed over immigration, Elon Musk and even from animal lovers

Barefoot Investor
The Nightly
4 Min Read
Last week I scored a trifecta, managing to upset people in three ways.
Last week I scored a trifecta, managing to upset people in three ways. Credit: Natalie Richards/Supplied

Last week I scored a trifecta, managing to upset people in three ways.

First, for my supposed “anti-immigration stance”, second, for hating on Elon Musk (the bromance is still strong with some readers, even though his car company is as bad as the rest in terms of spying on drivers) and, finally, from animal lovers (one lady threatened to report me to the RSPCA for cruelty to sheep — even though I was just using an analogy. Baaaah!).

Here’s one.

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Yvonne writes: I’ve just read your piece on limiting immigration because of the housing crisis.

What a load of claptrap. You’ve taken a complex and highly emotive issue and boiled it down to one simplistic factor: housing.

As you know (though it doesn’t fit your populist argument) it’s much more nuanced than that. Why are these “sheep” fleeing their countries? What economic good will these migrants do for our country, both now and in the future? Your dinky, populist piece stunk of both racism and NIMBY-ism (Not In My Back Yard). Do better.

Barefoot responds: Thank you for your feedback.

There were hundreds of people who shared your sentiments, but I think you nailed me the best (or worst).

The truth is I am a very simple person.

When you’re looking at something as complex as the economy, and how we govern for 26 million people, I think you need to come back to first principles.

And for me it’s this: I strongly believe that secure, affordable housing is a basic human right, especially given we live in the richest country on Earth.

It all begins at home and right now there are practically zero rentals available for people in the bottom 30 per cent of income earners, who are the people who traditionally rent.

That’s a crisis many years in the making and one that hasn’t been caused by hard-working immigrants.

As I said in the column, the solution is, to use your word “nuanced” and multi-faceted: expand the supply of new homes, end tax breaks that favour investors and build a lot more social and community housing.

We’re in a hole. It’s time to stop digging.

A very nervous mum writes: My husband has just confessed that we have $140,000 worth of debt.

I only knew about a quarter of it. The rest is gambling debt. We sold our first home to get out of debt and help us buy our current home and get a Mojo account.

That lasted less than five months. Before I knew it, it was all gone. Now I find out that not only have we chewed through every cent we own, and are barely living pay cheque to pay cheque, but we now are in $140,000 worth of debt again.

Now he wants to sell the house in order to pay off the debt, buy a new car, set up a savings account, have money to go on holiday overseas to see his family, etc, then look at buying a house in the future. My honest opinion?

I am so scared. What do we do? What can we do? I cannot go to our family as they will judge me more than you can imagine.

Barefoot responds: Years ago I trained with a guy at my gym who was superbly fit. He worked out every day (and pushed me to do the same), smoked meth most nights, and obsessively tracked his macronutrients.

Wait ... what? Yes, the guy was a meth addict.

When he told me (after a few months of training together) he explained that it wasn’t a big deal and that he was “self-medicating for his ADHD”.

It was clear to me that all the burpees and broccoli wouldn’t balance out the toxins he was putting into his body each night, but he couldn’t, or wouldn’t, see it. He was too caught up in the addiction.

You said your husband has gambling debts. That’s the equivalent of monetary methamphetamines. Only gambling addicts have gambling debts.

And while he’s in the grip of this addiction he’s likely going to blow any money he can get his hands on.

Please re-read that last sentence again.

It doesn’t matter what he says. Or his plans for the future. The only thing that matters is that he has the courage to admit that he has a mental health problem (that manifests as gambling) and that he takes steps to get help by calling the National Gambling Helpline on 1800 858 858.

Good luck.

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