Image by Naji Habib

For the price of a cup of coffee, one ought to be able to ban the announcers of such an awful phrase from saying “For the price of a cup of coffee” once and for all.

If you’ve never heard the term before, bless your cotton socks, because you’re clearly in the minority. Or you’re lying. Likely both. Because everyone and their aunt Helga has heard or uttered those eight tainted words or some variation therein.

“For the price of a cup of coffee,” begins the person with noble intentions, “You could pay back your college debt in the blink of an eye. You can buy my new book. How about fixing congestion in Your City? Print out a circuit board? Sponsor a uterus? Subscribe to Ancient Origins Premium? Sleep by pristine beaches and beneath redwoods? You can even buy a house in an Italian village!”

“Wow, you’re totally original,” you sarcastically reply, pointing the Person with Noble Intentions to your Google search for ‘for the price of a cup of coffee’, which prides itself on having located 488,000 search results within 0.31 seconds.

The latest offenders are those that peruse the comments sections of Fairfax Media Australia’s news articles. At least the articles that enable their comments section. The latest topic:

In Australia, university graduates do not pay for their tertiary education fees straightaway. The debt, known as HECS, accumulates until the student has completed their degree, and said students do not have to repay this debt until they are earning at least $AUD56,000 (approx. $US42,000). However, the current Liberal Government (the Right-wing party, not the left-wing which is the ALP) wishes to decrease that repayment threshold to $AUD45,000 ($USD33,000), and naturally the alternative Greens Party is unhappy at this, as are most low-income earners.

Right-wing Liberal voters and high-income earners don’t seem to understand why Left-wingers and low-income earners are up in arms about repaying their HECS debt. After all, that’s only $AUD8.80 a week. which is only…the price of a cup of coffee. Or two.


The Greens are responsible for supporting a lot of iffy policy, like Safe Schools and other radical gender theory, but their criticism of the Liberal’s latest flop is kinda on the mark. Here’s what Greens leader Richard Di Natale had to say:

If you’re a young person and you’re taking home 700 bucks a week, let’s face it, it’s not a goldmine…Once you’ve ended up paying for your rent, your energy bills, your grocery, your shopping needs, your transport needs, there’s very little left to spend on anything else.

On one hand, the Liberals (and the Independents who supported this attack on low-income Australians) want all Australians to spend, spend, spend to support the Australian economy, by way of their ridiculous banning of U.S. Amazon and imposing a hefty GST on all online purchases (thus supporting their pals like Gerry Harvey and co.). Yet, on the other hand, they want those earning barely enough to pay their own bills and shopping to…have less disposable income to even be able to afford the necessities.

We should be supporting their lifetime HECS debt cap of $AUD104,440, because otherwise this will allow the proliferation of those doing dud degrees like Gender and Women’s Studies and the like just for funsies. However, for The Age—noted for being incredibly feminist and obviously left-leaning—to report on this very issue as a “lifetime cap on taxpayer loans of $104,440 for most students” is insulting to those earning under the current HECS threshold. Does The Age believe those earning between $45,000 and $56,000 do not pay tax? What about those earning under $45,000? What an incredibly naive, and potentially dangerous view, for Fairfax Media to hold. And many of those same commenters who believe low-income earners can afford to splash all their cash on lattes and cappuccinos do believe what The Age is saying. Quite a few of the commenters on their article are complaining about low-income earners rorting the hard-working taxpayer, seemingly ignorant to the fact that low-income earners pay tax too.

taxpayer dollars

Is this casual game of class warfare entertaining, The Age? Are we long past the era where journalists would reports facts and information without a clear bias and an overwhelming desire to attract clicks over serious journalism? If so, the words “journalism” and “integrity” together are dead.

Of course income-earners should pay back their HECS debt, otherwise the economy will tank on a ship of diplomas and degrees. But to force low-income earners, who can barely afford a latte—let alone sip on one at a hipster cafe in Brunswick like The Age writers likely do—to pay back their HECS debt before they can afford to is utterly absurd.

And for those who think they’re being original telling us that [insert item] can be purchased “for the price of a cup of coffee,” you should seriously consider updating your phrasebook. Have you considered that there’s a percentage of the population who dislike the taste of coffee beans? How about the low-income earners who cannot even afford a cup of coffee?

Maybe use “for the price of a block of chocolate” or “for the price of THIS WILL LITERALLY HELP YOU OUT IN THE LONG RUN”? Think outside the box. Maybe then will we listen to whatever it is you’re trying to pitch.