I saw this post going around, and noticed people pointing out two things: a) the minimum wages are not accurate, and b) income tax may be higher in countries with higher minimum wages.

For the first point, I tried to get the most recent minimum wages, which were (in local currency): Australia - $16.37, France - €9.53, New Zealand - $14.25, United Kingdom - £6.31, Canada - $9.95, United States - $7.25, Japan - ¥664. For Canada and Japan, I picked the lowest of the various regional minimum wages.

The second point was far harder to tackle. The calculations use 40-hour weeks and a 50-week year, for someone with no spouse or children. As noted, I included charges that weren’t strictly “income tax”, but France’s Social Security Contribution was a nightmare to figure out, especially since I don’t speak French. My calculation is based on 8% of income going towards SSC, half of it being tax-deductible.

Re-calculating minimum wages didn’t change much, except that Japan’s minimum wage was now lower than in the US. Accounting for tax gave a much more surprising result: USA actually had one of the higher average tax rates out of the seven at 11.92%, more than double that of Canada (5.51%) and Japan (5.00%) which had comparable minimum wages. All this, even though USA is the only country in the group without universal healthcare.

Obviously, this still doesn’t account for factors such as cost of living and tax deductions for families, but it seems pretty clear that Americans on minimum wages are paying far too much tax for far too little income and social security.