A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

03 January 2007

They're All Heart

Or possibly some other organ.

Ontario Members of the Provincial Parliament, who voted themselves a 25% pay raise this year, have maggotnanimously decided that a rising tide floats all boats. Even those of the bottom ten percent of wage earners.

They do not, I notice, account for the fact that a rising tide often drowns those who are barely keeping their heads above water.

Prices have rocketed up with that "rising tide" over the past few years. According to the government's "LICO" or Low-Income Cut-Off figure, a single person in Canada lives at the poverty line if their income is $20,000 per year.

Which is screwy, because their figure for a family of three is about $23,000. So either a three-person family takes only $3,000 extra to look after all the needs of that extra adult PLUS any child of any age (and we might be more likely talking about daddy or mummy and two kids rather than the classic mummy-daddy-baby arrangement), or there are a lot of single welfare bums lounging around in the luxury of living on almost 90 percent of the amount it would take to support three people.

Given that it was politicians who invented the LICO idea, the conclusion is left to the Avid Fan.

At $8.00 an hour, eight hours a day, six days a week (hey we're talking about making a living here, not having a life), fifty weeks a year (that is, every day except statutory holidays) your pre-tax income would be $19,200. On the plus side, you probably wouldn't pay much in income tax--sales tax is another matter.

Of course, since your manager is paid in part based on his ability to keep you from working that fortieth hour and suddenly earning benefits, you probably actually work 4.9 days a week and earn closer to $15,800. No insurance, no dental plan, no nothin'.

Oh--you might work more hours per week, but the actual benefits you get are at the discretion of the company owner, and many don't actually pay overtime.

Fortunately medical care is free (for a given value of free--my home province charges for it). But don't get sick during work time. You can't afford to take the hours off.

The majority of people earning this figure in Ontario probably work in Toronto. I don't know what an apartment costs there, but in Vancouver it's $7200 a year for a rathole. Assuming you don't eat, that leaves you with $8,000 per year to spend on fripperies such as heat, hydro, hot water, telephone, and running a car (because I guarantee you no-one living on 16K a year lives right next door to their workplace). If you have to eat, you'd better hope there's a good bus service. Food adds at least $1440 per year (hope you like KD).

Of course, that family of three will doubtless be playing polo in the backyard, slurping mint juleps and wondering how to shelter that extra $3,000 in offshore investments.

Meanwhile, the top Canadian CEO's earned more than the average Canadian by January 3rd. $38,000 in three days. Hell, I'd probably take the rest of the day off and go scuba diving. In Hawaii.

Meanwhile politicians, "to bring them in line with federal members of parliament". That is--to correct a perceived economic disparity--got raises of around $22,000 a year.

As part of my Nude Yaw's Institutions I am trying to avoid using the word "bastards" on this blog.
It's so hard to stick to resolutions.


At 1:33 p.m., Anonymous raincoaster said...

Most minimum wage workers, of course, do not get scheduled for 35-40 hours a week and have to take two jobs, often incompatibly scheduled, to make ends meet. "Nickled and Dimed" is the book that sums it up best.


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