OK, call me a grumpy old self-funded (nearly) retiree. However, I was interested in the remarks of Ross Barker as reported in the Australian this week. Ross Barker is the managing director of Australian Foundation Investment (a favourite of retirees!), and he said that BHP should have directed more of its bumper earnings in the past three years to shareholders. At least Rio Tinto has lifted its dividend, but the yield on its shares is still only 2% - which is even worse than that of BHP (2.9%). Compared to the market average of 5.4%, these figures are miserly.Yes, it's true that these (and other mining companies, which have acted similarly) have committed to large amounts of capital investment. But if this expenditure is intended to protect earnings in the future, it does seem that "tomorrow" never comes. If the earnings over the past few years haven't been good enough to justify modest payouts in previous years, then what is? So, we're with Ross Barker on this issue.