OT: "Minimum wage is enough to live on" -- but not in America

One of my wife's colleagues just returned from a conference in Melbourne, Australia, where he encountered an American woman working in a souvenir shop for minimum wage: $21 per hour (AUD is currently at par with USD, but at times during the past six months has been higher). (And her health insurance premium would be peanuts: max. 2.5% of taxable income.)
Australia has not yet seen the first dip of the "double-dip" recession that the USA has experienced.
Perce
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On Thu, 08 Dec 2011 15:13:18 -0500, "Percival P. Cassidy"

My son lives in Oz. His wife was making $15 an hour working at a popcorn stand in a mall while she attended college. That was maybe 5 years ago. Health insurance isn't an issue. But consumer goods and housing costs are high. That's what I gather from them. They visited this summer with their new twins and made a point of taking back to Oz a lot of baby clothes. One thing that's apparently expensive there. I don't know the details. They're doing fine there. --Vic
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On 12/8/2011 2:38 PM, Vic Smith wrote:

My former boss's oldest son (a high-ranking exec for a global food conglomerate) was sent over there by the company he's working for. He and his wife have decided they're not coming back to the US. Australia is better for raising a family, better prospects for their childrens' futures.
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Give it time. Australia is about where the US was back in the 50's with what amounts to a very young country with a young population and a young government. With time will come aging of all elements and the strain of growth will be added in to make what was once bright a little less so.
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On 12/08/11 05:30 pm, BobR wrote:

So the standard of living declines the longer a nation lasts?
Perce
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Typically there are multiple factors for that 1) Growth of government, regulations and attendant costs 2) Expansion of government paid services 3) Aging of population 4) Decline of birth rate etc.
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On 12/8/2011 4:30 PM, BobR wrote:

I think they're already suffering from Liberal pollution of their government. ^_^
TDD
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On 12/08/11 09:54 pm, The Daring Dufas wrote:

That's funny, since the major conservative party in Australia is called the "Liberal Party"; however, it doesn't get enough votes to form a government on its own, but has to form a coalition with an even-further-right party, the "National Party" (which used to be called the "Country Party").
Perce
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On 12/8/2011 10:29 PM, Percival P. Cassidy wrote:

Wasn't the private ownership of firearms outlawed in Australia? o_O
http://www.kc3.com/editorial/gun_control_works.htm
TDD
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Hell Toupee wrote:

Hi, Our neighbor's son went down there for cheaper education cost for medical school. Now he is practicing in Western Oz. married a local girl. He is not coming back either. Maybe brains work better down under? Their economy is in good shape due to resource industry.
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Tony Hwang wrote:

It's interesting how different places have different customs.
My current squeeze taught me how to do the "Australian Kiss." It's like an American kiss, but it's "down under."
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Which of you "heads" does the blood rush to ??
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"Percival P. Cassidy" wrote:

Minimum wage in Australia is currently $15.51 per hour or $589.30 per week, according to this:
http://www.fairwork.gov.au/pay/national-minimum-wage/pages/default.aspx
In Canada it's about $10/hr, and in the US its (mostly) between $7 and $8.50 / hr.
In the UK it's 6.08 pounds.
If I'm interpreting correctly the information shown on this page:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Mac_Index
This is a list of the "fastest earned" big mac hamburgers by country:
1. Japan Tokyo - 10 minutes 2. United States Los Angeles - 11 minutes 3. United States Chicago - 12 minutes 4. United States Miami - 12 minutes 5. United States New York City - 13 minutes 6. New Zealand Auckland - 14 minutes 7. Australia Sydney - 14 minutes 8. Canada Toronto - 14 minutes 9. Switzerland Zrich - 15 minutes 10. Republic of Ireland Dublin - 15 minutes
I believe this is based on the minimum wage and the cost of a locally-purchased big mac in July 2009.
If this is correct (that a big mac could be purchased with 13 minutes of minimum-wage labor in the US) then that would peg the sandwich's current price at about $1.75. I think that's probably about 50 cents too low.
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On 12/08/11 07:52 pm, Home Guy wrote:

That link is for the national minimum. It's possible that each State sets its own minimum, which could be higher. If the woman had a part-time job and things are the way they used to be in Australia, she would be getting a higher rate per hour to compensate for not getting paid sick leave and holidays.
Perce
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Not minimum wage, but "average" wage.
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On 12/8/2011 6:52 PM, Home Guy wrote:

Back in the last century when I was attending college, a Whopper, fry and Coke at Burger King cost one dollar and regular gasoline cost as little as 22 cents a gallon. A computer was 4 million dollars at the time. ^_^
TDD
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On Fri, 09 Dec 2011 12:03:24 -0500, "Percival P. Cassidy"

Sounds very generous. We'll never see that here.
http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/world/5097951/Australia-raises-minimum-wage Australian minimum wage workers will receive a pay rise of A$19.40 ($25.37) a week, Fair Work Australia has ruled, in a decision that will increase the wages of about 1.4 million workers who are either on the minimum wage or rely on awards for their pay.
The decision will raise the minimum wage to A$15.51 ($20.29) an hour or A$589.30 ($770.79) a week - a smaller increase than last year's decision.
Workers on modern awards will have minimum rates increased by 3.4 per cent, which will mean a weekly pay increase of at least A$19.40 ($25.37).
In recent years the tribunal had only granted a flat dollar increase, so today's 3.4 per cent rise will be a bigger boost for those on higher paid awards. The decision takes effect on July 1.
The minimum wage panel, headed by Fair Work President Justice Geoffrey Giudice, said that while natural disasters had hurt growth, "the economy performed comparatively well over the 12 months against a number of other developed countries".
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Ed Pawlowski wrote:

You realize that the figure of ($20.29) is New Zealand dollars - not US dollars.
The median household income in Australia (2007/8) was about $67,000/year. In the US, that number was about $44,000 in 2003.
Given the minimum wage in Australia is $15.51, and in the US (using a ball-park average of about $7.50) we get this:
Hours worked at minimum wage to earn median income:
Australia: 4,320 US: 5,867
US minimum-wage numbers from here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._minimum_wages
The US minimum wage in 2003 was almost certainly less than $7.50 (or the median household income in 2011 is probably higher than it was in 2003).
So this is based on household income (not individual income). Note that there are about 2080 work hours in the typical year.
=============As a reference point, the minimum wage rate in 2009 was $7.25 per hour or $15,080 for the 2080 hours in a typical work year. The minimum wage is a little more than the poverty level for the 1 person family unit and about 50% of the poverty level for a family of four (see Poverty in the United States). Annual wages of $30,160; $45,240; $75,400; $150,800 and $1.5M correspond to 2, 3, 5, 10 and 100 times minimum wage respectively.[7]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_income_in_the_United_States ==============
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