What is a Christian argument for why minimum wage ought to be higher?
I wish my students could earn (adjusted for inflation) the minimum wage I did when I went to college. They’d almost be able to “work their way through college” like I did. But its not [mostly middle class] college kids I care most about—it is the poor workers that serve my hamburgers. They have no hope of making a living without college. They are doomed to marginal living as the “working poor.”
First off, I’ve had a little bit of college. Not a Bachelor degree’s worth. And I do not live high on the hog, but the bills get paid and we’re not hurting or starving. The argument that people must have a college education to succeed is a straw man. A Professor ought to know that.
Besides which, there is so much “free” money floating around, especially for people who are poor, to go to college that is even less of an excuse.
And wouldn’t raising minimum wage just make everything cost more? The Professor may build straw men, but he’s anticipated this one at least:
I know, I know—if we raise the minimum wage my hamburger will cost more. Good! I should pay enough for my hamburgers to enable the server to make a living and feed their family—to pay less is wrong in my doctrine—I am stealing from the worker their wages, and their [unpaid] wages will cry out against me at the judgment. (James 5)
I’m afraid you’re missing the point Professor, and making a major blunder here at the same time. I don’t care that you’re going to pay more for a hamburger, I care that the poor person whose wage has been raised will have to pay more for a hamburger. And in all likelihood, the percentage increase in the wage will be less than the percentage increase in the cost of the product.
Further, because labor costs more, greater pressure will be exerted to minimize the cost of labor as the real value of each dollar will be decreasing, more people will be laid off of jobs they were previously relatively secure in, even at or just above minimum wage. And I’m pretty if you ask those poor people you’re so very concerned about whether they’d rather make a little less and have a job or have the potential to make a little more and not have a job where they made even that, they’d take the smaller paycheck.
The road to hell, it is said, is paved with good intentions. Those unemployed due to massive stagnation of the economy will be crying out against you at the judgment, Professor.
God says His people perish for lack of knowledge. Professor, your short-sighted, feel-good ideas have been tried before, and have resulted in the most horrifying poverty and human destruction ever witnessed in modern times. Those who dreamt of a paradise on earth where every one had what they needed created the hell called the USSR before it crumbled under the weight of it’s own evil.
You are are morally responsible and your actions are as morally reprehensible as the communist apparatchiks when your intentions for good result in such destruction of the human soul.
Your understanding of the Bible did not send you there. It was your ignorance of where real redemption comes from and of basic economics.
And in fact, supporting the Democrats in this respect is a double failure of your sense, Professor. Look at the cities and states that have been run by Democrats and their ilk for the longest time and you’ll find the highest poverty rates, the most despair, the largest slums, the most disregard for decency and life. There is more to this than the support of a higher minimum wage, but that is for another time.
Apparently, the admonition to “turn the other cheek” means personal defense using firearms is wrong.
I do not hold my own life precious enough to give up another’s life to preserve my own. But I will demand no such sacrifice of my wife, my children, my neighbors, friends, or family.
A pistol is a great equalizer. It gives strength to the weak, and protection to the vulnerable. The woman walking the city streets to that minimum wage job late in the evening can be as secure as if she were Arnold Schwarzenegger in an armored car.
To be against handguns is to be for the strong, the violent, the takers, and rapists and murderers in the same way that being for raising the minimum wage means being for the destruction of jobs and the harming of lives.
Not that our cowboy nation need be any more cowboy. But in those places where the cowboy motif is strongest and the personal responsibility of self and community defense most anchored, crime is lowest.
I’m for crime being low. That’s a Christian position.
And here we get to a particularly telling argument.
Professor Drury believes that the rich ought to have more of their money taken.
I don’t want to redistribute all income, but I’d be happy to redistribute more of it.
And he continues:
Republicans might say that rich Christians ought to give their money personally to the poor and not through the government but somehow if a person is serious about the Old and New Testament’s teaching you’ve got to redistribute resources. I wish people did it personally. It is a nice idea. But, have you seen this happening much?
Actually Keith, yes, I do see this happening much. The Democrats you aspire to be like are a singularly stingy lot when it comes to their own money. Perhaps that’s your problem. Spending time only with Scrooge you assume all are likewise skin-flints. Perhaps you ought to get out and about a bit more and meet people besides those who think like yourself. You’d probably be a bit surprised.
David Horowitz makes an eye-opening point which can apply to this and the argument on the minimum wage: Leftists always seem to know what to do with wealth of others, but they really haven’t the slighted idea how to create it. Which is why socialism created the most uniformly destitute societies ever experienced in the history of the world despite significant initial riches and incredible natural resources.
But then Professor Drury launches into a singularly odd argument involving government-enforced giving, the final reward, and fish ponds:
If we did away with all taxes would you give your taxes to the poor? Really? Since churches are not taxed do you see the church giving generously to the poor? Really? I personally think rich people will always figure out ways to make money. I always do. The church ought to urge us to do the right thing, but if we don’t, then government ought to figure out a way to make us do it. We should share with those less fortunate than we are. If it is through generous personal giving we get a reward in heaven. If it through taxes taken from us by force and without complaints we may get no reward in heaven but at least the people are helped. The Democrats are closer to Biblical values as I see them on this point. Sure I would rather “teach a poor person to fish than give them a fish.” But teaching fishing is a far more expensive welfare program than distributing fish—so I’m willing to spend even more to enable the poor to get off their backs and take over the fishing ponds.
If we did away with all the taxes (which nobody is saying, straw man alert!) I’d have more money to spend on the charities I think are doing the most efficient, worthwhile work. Work that would please God. Yes, I’d do it to get a pat on the head from God.
And yes, churches I’ve been a part of do give generously to those in need. But let us make a significant separation between the deserving poor and the undeserving poor. I’m not into free lunches for the sake of free lunches. I will support and participate in the alleviation of the suffering of those who are trying with what they have and yet still need. That is why I’m incredibly grateful that my church requires counseling and accountability of any who seeks alms from them. The smelly dirt-bag on the corner across the street from my office who I see once or twice a week yelling the most obscenely vulgar and racist epithets at the various black people who walk by him is undeserving. He is not seeking to get out of his condition, and therefore is not deserving to be lifted out of his condition.
It is not a case of “the Lord helps them that help themselves”. It’s a case of this person will use the talent I give them to grow and multiply and achieve, and this one will spend it on booze and drugs. I will not be party, even indirectly, to the destruction of a human soul through such uncareful giving.
I’m with the Professor on this, to this extent: The government has no place writing or administering prayers in the public schools. But the government also has no place limiting in any way the free practice of the religious expression of the students in those schools so long as it is not disruptive or destructive. This is a right held by the individuals, not a privilege administered by the state. As such, it is both a restriction upon the actions of the state to limit such speech and a requirement that reasonable steps be taken to allow such speech.
Congress shall make no law (The government has no right to) respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,
Stay tuned for more and a wrap up.
- WV-Sen: Rush endorses Raese for being from Florida, wanting to nuke minimum wage (dailykos.com)
- State minimum wage to increase to $8.67 (thenewstribune.com)
- Terrance Heath: Minimal Wages For All (huffingtonpost.com)
- GOP Candidate Wants Minimum Wage Repeal (blogs.abcnews.com)
- Minimum Wage – Passport to Poverty (socyberty.com)