Thursday, February 08, 2007

What does the Bible have to say about the minimum wage?

Christian blogger Ron of Ron's Musings has a problem with Tom Wallis and his opinion that God supports the minimum wage. Ron asks the question "Is God for a Minimum Wage Increase".

in his blog Wallis claims that God Hates Inequality. Referring to the Senate vote to increase the minimum wage, Wallis says, “this is a good vote.” He goes on to make quite a claim. “It’s a political fact now that faith communities across the board, very widely, are in favor of increasing the minimum wage. Why is that? What’s the theological foundation behind that? We don’t just do politics; we do politics because of our faith.”

My studied response - if God supported raising the minimum wage, we would not have invented that dismal science, economics. Because anyone who has suffered through an economics course knows that the minimum wage is a price floor which has the affect of creating a surplus of workers. I think the rational is that for every 10 percent increase in the real minimum wage, employment falls 1 or 2 percent. In economics, a surplus of workers means people who had been working are no longer working - this is not a good thing.  Of course, another problem with minimum wage laws is that most people who earn the minimum wage are middle class teenagers. The poor, people who live below the poverty line that is, tend to earn more than the minimum wage, yet still earn less than the poverty level - therefor increasing the minimum wage does not help the poor, it just puts well off middle class kids out of work.

Raising the minimum wage is a political maneuver. It does not help the poor, it is a ploy to help keep fat cat politicians in office - is this something God would support. Not the God I don't belief in!

And yes - I actually have a MBA from a major Christian University.

(Posted while listening to Woody Gurthrie - Hobo's Lullaby- off the This Land Is Our Land Collection)

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Wesley Matthews said...

I too have an MBA from a Christian University and I have found no support for the minimum wage in my Bible studies. A fare wage, yes, but a minimum wage, no.

You are correct with your economic analysis. Minimum wage does not help the poor people. Usually raising the minimum wage hurts the middle class people.

PA just raised its minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.25 in January and will be going to $7.15 in July. Who gets hurt? Well, a bunch of day cares around the area have said their rates are going to raise. Who sends their children to day care? Working parents in the middle class!

I have wrote several blogs on the topic of minimum wage which can be read here:

Thinking at Doe Valley

You can also check out this blog for more christian thoughts.

Musings of a Maverick

Anonymous said...

I always ask those who promote the minimum wage because they think inequality is evil or that God hates (as Wallis suggests) inequality, "Do you pay everyone the same on your payroll?" In fact the minimum wage actually in the long term works agains the very thing social and economic liberals want--helping the low-income worker and poor to be more self sufficient. Giving someone minimum wage and then having the government raise it, does not result a skilled worker, but more than likely has not result in helping the low-income wage earner getting out of poverty. Also a fact, the majority of entry level jobs where minimum wages are in play do not hit those the liberals say they want to help--the poor. Most low wage and entry level jobs in the US are taken by teenagers who live at home or college students.

God hates foolishness and minimum wage laws are foolishness. God hates those who don't help the poor, and those who promote the minimum wage are NOT helping the poor. God must hate Jim Wallis. (Of course He doesn't, but you see my point.)

Chip Anderson,

Meeeeeeee said...

You say "I think the rational is that for every 10 percent increase in the real minimum wage, employment falls 1 or 2 percent."

Why is that? Is it because a wealthy corporation does not have the money to pay the increased wage or is because they do not want to dive into their profit margin to make up for the increased wage? And if it IS that they don't want to cut from their profit margin perhaps their answer is to start cutting people instead and spreading the work load over a smaller group of individuals?

I think it's the latter. Just saying so. We have to stop just looking at the end result numbers and pay attention to the greed that led to those numbers.

Mojoey said...

The relevant thing here is that i does not matter what you think. We are talking Economic theory. The facts prove that an increase in the minimum wage results in job losses. So what you think... well, it just does not matter unless you can offer a theory that counters prevailing economic theory.