This is a sample of The Echidna newsletter sent out each weekday morning. To sign up for FREE, go to theechidna.com.au "Guess what that dump down the road is on the market for," said Mrs Echidna. "$900,000. Can you believe that?" It was a year ago and property was so hot, it was redlining. The house she was pointing to was last on the market about five years earlier for just over $300,000. And it was still a renovator's delight. Bonkers. A couple of days later, the For Sale sign went up - with a Sold sticker already on it. Blind Freddie could have told you this was unsustainable. But the market was gripped by madness. FOMO (fear of missing out) was in full flight. Buyers were taking on ridiculous debt to get a toehold in the property market and many were ignoring the red flags fluttering on the horizon. Some were also taken in by Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe's reckoning that historically low interest rates would not "likely" rise until 2023 or 2024. Turns out it was a dud call. Even when it was uttered throughout 2021, it seemed oddly optimistic. Disturbing signs were emerging that inflation was on the rise in the US as its economy started to wake up from its coronavirus slumber. By January this year, economists were predicting a series of rate rises in the US. If this didn't sound the alarm, the Russian invasion of Ukraine a month later and the sanctions that followed certainly did. In March this year, the governor warned Australians to prepare for higher interest rates. But he also said his earlier predictions of the cash rate remaining at 0.1 per cent were still plausible. Of course, mud sticks and Philip Lowe has been well and truly spattered with it for that bad call. In fairness, he couldn't have predicted in 2021 Putin's invasion of Ukraine. Only a few Kremlinologists saw it coming - and no one was listening to them anyway. But like the rest of us, Phil would have seen inflation gathering steam in the world's bigger economies. He would have seen their central banks muttering about interest rates being too low - and, let's face it, they were. He would have also seen, as the rest of us did, the "great resignation" that followed the first year of the pandemic, when workers in their millions in the US simply upped stumps and left their jobs. Here, it was closed borders that stopped the supply of migrants who traditionally did the jobs at which the rest of us turned up our noses. But the effect was the same - a massive, inflationary skills shortage. He should have known that putting a date on rates remaining stable during a time of great uncertainty ran the risk of creating unrealistic expectations. The Albanese government appears to be knuckling down on the challenges it can address. Its skills summit borrows from the Hawke era. The intent: to get everyone talking about how we can resolve the acute shortage of workers and lift productivity. The government is also going to be looking into the Reserve Bank, the first review of the central bank in three decades. This is a good thing, even if a little late. As an article in The Mandarin - the repository of public sector news and policy analysis - says: "Regulatory bodies need reviews in the same way that cars need a service. Checking the oil filters, brakes, and other components is necessary to ensure things are in good working order." Given the missed red flags, and the bad interest rate call, it would seem the Reserve Bank is well overdue for a service. It was ticking along nicely when the road ahead was straight and smooth and inflation was kept within its target range. But with the twists and turns of the past three years and the potholes of war, pandemic, climate disasters and supply shocks, it could do with a tune-up and a thorough check under the bonnet. Finally, a word of thanks to Steve Evans, who stepped in while I was away. He did a sterling job. HAVE YOUR SAY: Should the Reserve Bank board include members from the trade union movement? Should Philip Lowe fall on his sword for that bad interest rates call? Should borrowers always plan for interest rate rises, regardless of what the Reserve Bank says? Email us: email@example.com SHARE THE LOVE: If you enjoy The Echidna, forward it to a friend so they can sign up, too. IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: - Australia and the US have embarked on a new partnership to develop new technologies to combat greenhouse gas emissions. The partnership will focus on the development of long duration energy storage technology, digital electricity grids and technology to support the integration of variable renewable energy, hydrogen, and carbon dioxide removal - including direct air capture. - Sick of the rain? Well, we have some bad news. The Indian Ocean Dipole index has just reached its most negative value since 2016, increasing the likelihood of wet weather over southeastern Australia in the coming months. - Just like old times: the Coral Princess, sister ship to the ill fated Ruby Princess made infamous at the beginning of the pandemic, is cruising down the NSW coast as its crew isolates with Covid. THEY SAID IT: "If I turn out to be particularly clear, you've probably misunderstood what I've said." Alan Greenspan, former head of the US Federal Reserve YOU SAID IT: Asked whether our politicians talk straight in elections or bend the truth, Chris said, "It seems that very few politicians talk straight at any time. Whether it is a matter of spin, deflection, sugar coating, ignoring or just plain old lying, politicians can be direct and eloquent when it suits their purpose. They can also be honest. It is part of the cycle that they sometimes downplay an issue because it may cost them some votes." On whether wages should rise, he said: "Real wage rises are needed to ensure that workers can afford to keep up with the pace as they have suffered real wage losses for a number of years." Also on wage rises, Arthur said: "The problem in Australia is wealth distribution. The government needs to address the problem that the top small percentage of the wealthy earn (collect) half of the income while the struggling bottom majority have to share the remainder. Raising interest rates only makes that worse. A rethink on managing the economy and taxation is long overdue." Doug said we don't have a wage price spiral. "We have a supply induced inflation shock. Very different economic processes. Putting a lid on wages does nothing to deal with supply side issues that run alongside an increasing shift from wages to profits." Heather was even more direct on wages: "Wages have to rise. The end." Oliver blames ever increasing profits for inflation. "Profit growth has been greatly outstripping wages growth for years." He says a good look at the Reserve Bank board is needed. "The composition of the RBA board is wrong. It's full of industry bosses. Where are the economists and representatives of wage-earners?"