The world’s wealthiest woman, Australian Gina Rinehart, says unless there is a cut in the $600 weekly minimum wage for people barely making enough to scrape by that the country may wind up like “unlucky Greece,” which is suffering a crushing economic crisis even though there have been big pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions and in the minimum wage.
Rinehart said people are poor because they don’t work work hard enough and have been coddled with a minimum wage aimed at giving them enough to have food and shelter. Rinehart, who inherited her $30 billion fortune and didn’t work for it said: “If you’re jealous of those with more money, don’t just sit there and complain. Do something to make more money yourself — spend less time drinking or smoking and socializing, and more time working,” a common stereotype of Greeks who’ve been criticized as lazy and shiftless.
Rinehart said Greece’s Socialist system had created anti-business policies similar to what she said Australia is doing while trying to protect its poor, who she said should just work instead of relying on the government. Greece, however, has 21.3 percent unemployment – 54.9 percent for those under 25 – and two million people out of work. She advised the Australian government to lower the minimum wage, as well as taxes, unless it wanted to end up like Greece.
Rinehart’s comment – published in her column in mining magazine Australian Resources and Investment – has united all Aussie political parties, left and right, who labelled her out of touch with ordinary Australians, similar to the criticism U.S. Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who is wealthy too, has faced.
Rinehart is not the only one of the world’s richest people to attack government policies around the world. Last month, Mexican Carlos Slim, whose $65 billion fortune makes him the world’s richest person, said countries that are struggling economically should raise their respective retirement ages to 70 and make people work longer.