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What Would Karl Marx Do? Faith Leaders Enter The Minimum Wage Debate
Townhall.com ^ | December 8, 2013 | Austin Hill

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 rabbi’s 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 don’t 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. It’s 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 don’t pay much more than fifteen dollars an hour.

Take “I.T.” technicians, dental assistants, teacher’s 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 you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of years, you’ve 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.

That’s 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 America’s 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?


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: karlmarx; marxism; minimumwage

1 posted on 12/08/2013 8:13:09 AM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

2 posted on 12/08/2013 8:17:12 AM PST by LegendHasIt
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To: Kaslin
But do any of these faith leaders understand the most basic concepts of economics or business?

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.

3 posted on 12/08/2013 8:32:44 AM PST by from occupied ga (Your government is your most dangerous enemy)
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To: Kaslin
why the faith leaders’ stance on labor and work is severely misguided.

"A worker's appetite works for him, for his hunger urges him on"

Proverbs 16:26

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.

4 posted on 12/08/2013 8:43:04 AM PST by mjp ((pro-{God, reality, reason, egoism, individualism, natural rights, limited government, capitalism}))
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To: Kaslin

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.


5 posted on 12/08/2013 8:44:41 AM PST by layman (Card Carrying Infidel)
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To: Kaslin
The only way a minimum-wage can work is if employers are guaranteed a minimum profit.

Without profit there is no business and there are no jobs, minimum-wage or otherwise.

6 posted on 12/08/2013 9:04:36 AM PST by E. Pluribus Unum (Who knew that one day professional wrestling would be less fake than professional journalism?)
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To: Kaslin
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
7 posted on 12/08/2013 9:05:19 AM PST by Oshkalaboomboom
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To: mjp
As Ben Franklin said;

"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.

8 posted on 12/08/2013 9:08:20 AM PST by fella ("As it was before Noah so shall it be again,")
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To: Kaslin

Some are to dim to understand the fact they are not worth what they want.


9 posted on 12/08/2013 9:19:53 AM PST by Vaduz
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To: Kaslin

Why stop at $15?...make it $50 or $100 and see what happens?


10 posted on 12/08/2013 9:41:10 AM PST by broken_arrow1 (I regret that I have but one life to give for my country - Nathan Hale "Patriot")
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To: Kaslin

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.


11 posted on 12/08/2013 9:58:54 AM PST by fhayek
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To: fhayek

On the other hand there are also employers, that no matter how hard you work and are always on time you are not appreciated


12 posted on 12/08/2013 10:11:22 AM PST by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them. Now we all have to pay the consequenses)
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To: Kaslin

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.


13 posted on 12/08/2013 10:20:31 AM PST by fhayek
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To: Kaslin

Marx, the left’s Jesus.


14 posted on 12/08/2013 10:29:13 AM PST by DPMD
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To: DPMD

I would agree with that.


15 posted on 12/08/2013 10:48:24 AM PST by Irenic (The pencil sharpener and Elmer's glue is put away-- we've lost the red wheel barrow)
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To: Kaslin

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...


16 posted on 12/08/2013 11:05:00 AM PST by lump in the melting pot (Half-brother is Watching You!)
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To: Kaslin
Preachers get money by asking for it. They don't have any understanding of what the members of their congregation have to do to earn what they put in the collection plate.
17 posted on 12/08/2013 12:35:05 PM PST by JoeFromSidney ( book, RESISTANCE TO TYRANNY, available from Amazon.)
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To: lump in the melting pot

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.


18 posted on 12/08/2013 3:28:09 PM PST by Fred Nerks (fair dinkum)
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To: Kaslin
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 wouldn’t accept that

Matthew 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 don’t agree with her assessment.

19 posted on 12/08/2013 4:00:47 PM PST by conservatism_IS_compassion ("Liberalism” is a conspiracy against the public by wire-service journalism.)
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To: Kaslin; fhayek
On the other hand there are also employers, that no matter how hard you work and are always on time you are not appreciated

You receive your remuneration. That is "appreciation" in the literal sense of the word.
20 posted on 12/08/2013 8:20:30 PM PST by aruanan
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To: Kaslin

bkmk


21 posted on 12/10/2013 9:48:11 AM PST by AllAmericanGirl44 ('Hey citizen, what's in YOUR closet?')
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