The topic of “minimum wage” had been a hot one recently until Obama’s red line and Syria stole the front pages. However, no matter how much one explains the dilemma of ‘who, eventually,’ pays for the increases in minimum wage that will, supposedly, bring a livable wage to all, everyone still wants more – for less. So we looked around the world to see – on a real purchasing power parity basis – just how ‘tough’ America’s minimum wage earners have it. Turns out, only 9 nations in the world have a higher real minimum wage than the US.
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Australia might have the highest hourly minimum wage in the world, but it’s also one of the most expensive places in the world to live. $16 in Australia doesn’t buy as much stuff as it does in the U.S. When you adjust Australia’s hourly minimum wage for buying power, or Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), that $16 is worth only about $9.77 — which is still quite a bit higher than the U.S. hourly minimum wage of $7.25. The country with the highest “real” minimum wage is Luxembourg: $10.37 after being adjusted for PPP.