Skip to comments.What Would Karl Marx Do? Faith Leaders Enter The Minimum Wage Debate
Posted on 12/08/2013 8:13:09 AM PST by Kaslin
Upholding the dignity of the laborer. Seeking justice for workers. Pastors, priests and rabbis who lend their support to striking fast food and retail workers use such high-minded language to describe their behavior.
But do any of these faith leaders understand the most basic concepts of economics or business? It would seem that, at times, the answer is no. And there are several good reasons why the faith leaders stance on labor and work is severely misguided.
It ignores a major player in the labor market - The protests and demonstrations centered on the plight of employees who work for a minimum wage all seem to conveniently ignore another important party in the labor market employers. Gathering people to rage against business owners is consistent with the teachings of Karl Marx, but is it constructive, and does it fit with the faith leaders professed beliefs?
Presumably many of the pastors, priests and rabbis who are rallying for worker justice also provide pastoral counseling services as part of their professional and ministerial duties. But would any good clergyman attempt to do marital counseling with only one spouse? Probably not. And while the employer-employee relationship is not a marriage, it is nonetheless a relationship so why are religious leaders championing the needs and interests of one party while ignoring the needs and interests of the other?
If the faith leaders involved in this activity actually cared for everybody involved in the labor dispute and cared enough to actually listen to the local small business owners in their communities they might actually learn why it is that some jobs are regarded as entry level and therefore dont pay very well. It is sad to see clergymen, purporting to uphold the dignity of the worker, nonetheless withhold that dignity from business owners and instead demonize them.
It ignores another important player in the labor market - With all the attention showered upon the restaurant and retail workers who walk off the job so they can go chant, walk a picket line, and talk to news reporters, an important fact gets lost in the milieu: an overwhelming majority of workers earning minimum wage at restaurants and big box stores are thankfully NOT walking off the job. On the contrary, most of them are diligently performing the tasks assigned to them in the job they agreed to accept, and are perhaps focusing their energies on advancing within their existing company or eventually finding a better job.
Coddling disgruntled workers who clock-in at their job and then walk off the work site is like an elementary school teacher focusing all attention on the few kids that are misbehaving and ignoring the students who are performing well. And no business management strategist would advise employers to focus on problem behavior while ignoring productive employees. When faith leaders bestow honor to workers who undermine their employees, they undermine the majority of workers who fulfill their responsibilities and play by the rules.
It undermines more skilled workers As well intentioned as the faith leaders efforts might be as they try to exhibit empathy for low-skilled, low wage earning workers, they are slapping many skilled workers in the face. Its as if members of the clergy have no comprehension of the struggle many Americans willingly face in order to get themselves educated, to develop new skill sets, and to remain viable in the marketplace.
The minimum wage debate strikes to the heart of this struggle. As they stand with striking fast food workers who demand a fifteen dollar an hour wage, many faith leaders appear clueless about how many other kinds of jobs in our economy require education, degrees, and certifications, yet dont pay much more than fifteen dollars an hour.
Take I.T. technicians, dental assistants, teachers aids and medical assistants as examples. People who work in these fields usually have to take courses, pass tests, and acquire certificates and licensures in order to qualify for a job in their field, and they often spend hundreds if not thousands of their own dollars to get appropriately trained. Yet many of them earn wages in the $10 to $25 an hour range in some cases not much more than what disgruntled fast food workers are demanding.
When faith leaders argue that workers with low skill levels are deserving of the same or nearly the same wages as workers who have sought to become trained workers, they undermine people who have disciplined themselves and have pursued the difficult task of self-development. It is saddening to see faith leaders ignore this.
It fails to address the real problem Unless youve been living under a rock for the past couple of years, youve probably heard about the tremendous economic success of North Dakota. This little state is in the midst of a big economic boom that has produced low unemployment, and wages for many low skill workers that are well over the mandated minimum wage.
Thats because the people of North Dakota have wisely chosen to utilize their natural resources oil in particular and to sell that resource around the world. The oil-based energy industry is creating genuinely new wealth in that state, which has in turn elevated nearly every other sector of the economy.
The problem of low wages will not be solved by merely seeking to re-distribute increasing portions of wealth out of the hands of the few and into the hands of the chosen as the demand for a higher minimum wage does. Rather, the problem will only be addressed when Americans begin to understand the key ingredients that required in an economy that creates wealth and prosperity for all.
Will Americas faith leaders begin to learn what those ingredients are? Or will they continue to follow the teachings of Karl Marx, and embrace one portion of society while demonizing others?
Obviously not. They don't have a clue. They've never held a real job or had to strive for a living. They think wealth is distributed, not earned.
"A worker's appetite works for him, for his hunger urges him on"
In order to succeed, the poor need most of all the spur of their poverty.In a rational and free society, low wages should be considered to be a motivation for the worker to improve himself, so that he can earn higher wages elsewhere.
I have a brilliant idea. Let’s pass a law requiring employers to provide expensive health insurance to their employees .... then, let’s double the minimum wage. Yeah .... that’s the ticket.
Without profit there is no business and there are no jobs, minimum-wage or otherwise.
"I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it."
For a graphic example watch the film Tobbaco Road pay special attention to the rich do-gooders.
Some are to dim to understand the fact they are not worth what they want.
Why stop at $15?...make it $50 or $100 and see what happens?
Over the weekend, a local radio program had a labor economist on who posited that higher wages make for a more productive worker. “You get what you pay for” I think, is what he said. But, the minimum wage is regarded by low skill workers as a right. They see no requirement to be more productive as it goes up. On the contrary, an increasing minimum wage is proof in their minds that they had been paid less than they were worth by their employers, and that there is no requirement to work harder for their wages. It has the effect of having workers look to politicians, and not their employers as the source of their economic advancement.
On the other hand there are also employers, that no matter how hard you work and are always on time you are not appreciated
No question. And in that case, you are free to move on. I have always said that if you feel you are not being compensated sufficiently, you can ask your employer for a raise. If he refuses, you can look for a higher paying job. If you cannot find a higher paying job, you can always go into business for yourself. If, while in business for yourself, you are not making more money, perhaps you are not worth what you think you are worth.
Marx, the left’s Jesus.
I would agree with that.
What Karl Marx would do, first of all, is line up all these “faith leaders” against a wall and machine-gun them. In front of their wives and children. It’s what his true disciples, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Kim Il-Sung, Che and Castro did. Can’t have the opiate of the masses interfering with the march toward socialism...
Not much use asking what would Marx do, after he spent his wife’s inheritance the family was pennyless, he never worked a day in his life and the children either starved or were taken away and reared by the State.
I respected a pastor who was otherwise a good man but was a sucker for this sort of logic. The fallacy in that logic is the assumption that the outputs of a business just are. His wife asserted that employers were obligated to pay for health insurance for all employees, for instance.
I asked her if she employed anyone, or had any intention to employ anyone. She did not. And yet she wouldnt accept thatMatthew 23:4: For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.had any relevance to her position. I dont agree with her assessment.