The highest minimum wage in a major country is Australia’s—in U.S. dollars, a whopping $14.88 an hour at the current exchange rate. Conservatives would howl if anyone in Washington proposed such a thing. According to Republican dogma, such a high minimum wage would be the ultimate job-killer, a disastrous move that could only choke off the recovery and perhaps send the economy back into recession.
Apparently, nobody told all this to the Australians. Unemployment there is 5.7 percent, versus 7.3 percent in the United States. The Australian economy escaped the Great Recession of 2007-08, and in fact hasn’t seen any kind of recession in 20 years. (Oh, and Australia has universal health care, too, but perhaps that’s another column.)
After the fast food strikes last week, I was just debating this very topic with a couple friends and it got heated. Obama is looking to raise it to $10. What do you think? Should the United States raise the minimum wage or not?