In today’s daily USPS junk mail delivery, I was deluged (as is everyone these days) by a pile of political flyers. One of the flyers in particular caught my eye – it was entitled “Common Sense MMXIV” (why the Roman numerals? But I digress).
One of the supposed “common sense” proposals listed on this flyer was to “…. enact, as Australia has, a $20/hr. minimum wage”. Since I was not aware that Australia had a $20/hr. minimum wage, I googled this topic and found that in fact Australia does not have a $20/hr. minimum wage (source: http://www.wageindicator.org/main/salary/minimum-wage/australia). What Australia does have is a 16.87AUD/hour minimum which translates (at the current exchange rate) into 14.84USD/hour (AUD and USD are acronyms respectively for “Australian Dollar” and “US Dollar”). Furthermore, there are all sorts of caveats that apply; for example, there’s a schedule of minimum wages (expressed as a percentage of the 16.87AUD/hour baseline) based upon the age of the worker:
|<16 years: 36.8%||AUD6.21||USD5.46|
|16 years: 47.3%||AUD7.98||USD7.02|
|17 years: 57.8%||AUD9.75||USD8.58|
|18 years: 68.3%||AUD11.52||USD10.13|
|19 years: 82.5%||AUD13.92||USD12.24|
|20 years: 97.7%||AUD16.48||USD14.49|
For more on the economics of the minimum wage, I recommend reading the attached article by David Neumark; Dr. Neumark is an economics professor and director of the Center for Economics and Public Policy at the University of California, Irvine.