Across the USA and Canada in make-shift camps, protestors are demanding something. We are not sure what. But they are upset about the rich getting high wages. I have read articles in which reporters go on about the anger of the protestors about the one percent who take home all the money. In a recent issue of McLeans, the Canadian version of the US Time magazine, I read that in Canada you are in the top one percent if you earn over $170,000 per year and in the US you are in the top one percent if you earn over $400,000 per year.
If these numbers are correct, this is an interesting picture of the differences in the US economy and the Canadian economy. Particularly when you consider the higher tax rates and the higher cost of living in Canada. Regardless, there are protestors hoping to occupy Wall Street in Canada too. Although McLeans notes in their article that the problem is not about the wealthy; the problem is about the poor, and they ask if we should not rather concentrate on solving the problems of the poor, like better eduction, health access, and job opportunities, than on more taxing of the rich.
I have written a fair number of blog postings on mining salaries. Here are some links:
- 2010 US Coal Mine Wages
- 2010 US Coal Mine Salaries
- US Mining Executives’ Compensation
- 2010 – 2011 Mine Salaries
- 2011 US Mine Wages
The interesting part of reading these links and the source documents is that a fair number of Canadian miners are in the top one percent and probably well within the top five percent of wage and salary earners.
At lunch today, an Australian engineer told me that the earnings of miners in Australia distort wage scales and this is provoking envy amongst other non-mining workers. Will it come to that here in Canada and the USA? Hope this blog posting does not touch off a fire-storm of protest. But the fact is that many miners across the world are earning top dollars and are amongst the top percentile. Have you looked at the price of houses in Fort McMurray recently? If the house price is any measure, the oil sands miners are amongst the very top income brackets.
Personally I know a number of folk in the mining industry who earn over $170,000 a year. A few of them work as consultants to the mining industry. Some provide services to the mining industry. And some are genuine mining company employees. I have never thought of them as the super-rich.
Now $400,000 is another story. I am not sure I know anybody in the USA getting that much. Although I know a few married couples whose combined income is pretty nearly there. And they do not live like the super-rich. Well, maybe the couple who have a 44-ft sailboat made to their specifications in Germany. And he is a mere consultant. Although he works a lot harder than I do.
My point in all this is that mining is not a poor-paying undertaking. If you are educated, work hard, have a bit of luck, are prepared to live in some far-off places, or commute to an office in a big city, there is no reason why, in Canada at least, you should not get into the top one percent bracket, and the top five to ten percent bracket in the USA.
I look forward to your opinion on this matter.