Miami archbishop: raise the minimum wage [CC]

Writing in the Fort Lauderdale-based Sun-Sentinel, Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami, who serves as chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic …


:slight_smile: :):slight_smile:

The church is silent on the question of whether a minimum wage is an economically good idea. Archbishop Wenski would have served us better had he taken the same approach. There are reasonable arguments to be made both for and against a minimum wage, but there is no argument to be made that one position is more moral than the other.


Thank you. :thumbsup:

The Church has Catholic Social Teaching “Principles” only! Unlike Islamism, there is no ‘roadmap’ for achieving those principles. Like Sharia Law.

Pretty soon they’re going to start calling us Catholicists. Like Islamists. :rolleyes:

It’s radical Catholicism.

I’m getting the feeling that most Catholic groups and Bishops support the minimum wage as well as an increase. This is a bit older (2006) but it is very clearly in favor of increasing it and I can’t imagine that they’ve changed their minds:

USCCB Position

Work has a special place in Catholic social thought: work is more than just a job; it is a reflection of our human dignity, and a way to contribute to the common good. Most importantly, it is the ordinary way people meet their material needs and community obligations. In Catholic teaching, the principle of a living wage is integral to our understanding of human work. Wages must be adequate for workers to provide for themselves and their families in dignity. Although the minimum wage is not a living wage, the Catholic bishops have supported increasing the minimum wage over the decades. The minimum wage needs to be raised to help restore its purchasing power, not just for the goods and services one can buy but for the self-esteem and self-worth it affords the worker. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops supports legislation that would increase the minimum wage and is urging Congress to raise the minimum wage in a timely and meaningful way.

A minimum wage increase will increase the purchasing power of some workers, and decrease the purchasing power of others whose jobs go away. I suspect that if minimum wage laws were abolished, not much would change, because wages are really determined by market forces.

And a minimum wage doesn’t really ensure a stable purchasing power unless maximum prices are also established.

I don’t buy it and I don’t think it’s ever been proved. This seems to refute the idea:

The point I’m making is not that they don’t support raising the minimum wage but that they shouldn’t support it because determining whether doing so is a good or bad idea does not involve any moral choices. It is not a moral issue and the clergy really shouldn’t be suggesting that it is one.


I feel it is a moral choice if people cannot survive on 7.25 an hour. I pay the kid across the street more than that to help me out. Why should we assume people can contribute to the needs of their families on such a low salary?

And if that mandated increase in wages causes the price of the person necessities to go up accordingly (and thus price them out of staples), or causes layoffs, do we also mandate price caps on goods and mandate employment?

The Bishops cannot make these statements in a vacuum without explaining how it will work. If they do that, then they can convince others.

Otherwise, he might as well be saying “I think everyone should be able to fly.”

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Love that this bishop is talking about stagnant wages and economic inequality in America. :thumbsup: We need to hear more of this from our leaders.

Where is the moral choice? Do you really believe it is between helping or not helping? If that’s what you think then you have no real understanding of the economic issues involved. Every action has consequences and raising the minimum wage has several. It is surely true that, for the people who keep their jobs, they will now be making more money, but it is equally true that raising the minimum wage also reduces the total number of jobs available. As you raise the cost of labor you increase the likelihood that low wage jobs will be replaced by automation or simply eliminated. The choice is not as simplistic as you suppose, between doing good and not caring. If you make the charitable assumption that most people really do want what is best then there is no basis for supposing that those who oppose raising the minimum wage are selfish, sinful people. They may in fact be mistaken, but that is error, not sin.

I pay the kid across the street more than that to help me out.

Do you pay him enough to live on? You pay him a small amount to help you out but you surely don’t pay him enough that he could live outside of his home, do you? Why not? Why do you assume it is someone else’s responsibility to subsidize his work?

Why should we assume people can contribute to the needs of their families on such a low salary?

Why should we assume that it is the responsibility of McDonald’s and Bunkey’s Car Wash to pay their employees more than their jobs are worth? You don’t pay your neighbor what he needs so how do you justify passing that responsibility to others? You cannot resolve this problem by focusing solely on the needs of the poor without taking into account how your actions will affect the rest of society.

Raising the minimum wage eliminates jobs so even as some people are better off because their jobs now pay more, others lose jobs entirely because businesses cannot economically justify the higher wage.

The point I’m trying to make, however, really has nothing to do with which of our perceptions of the impact of raising the minimum wage is correct. It is simply this: there is an up side and a down side and determining whether the pluses outweigh the minuses is not a moral consideration, it is an economic one. It is therefore not something the bishops should weigh in on.


13 states are raising their minimum wage, including Florida.

The concern I have here is a lot of folks seem to overlook that minimum wage laws price out young and urban workers.

There should be exemptions to minimum wage laws if they are indeed necessary.

Also, higher minimum wage could mean less jobs for some and longer hours for others.

We’ll see how it goes. :shrug:

I’ll be watching…

We shouldn’t. Then again, if people really are not making ends meet or just not happy, heh, this is still America and there are opportunities galore for advancement.

Also, we need to be very careful when suggesting that government should be involved in morality issues like this.

His Excellency is grossly misguided…his interest in helping those less fortunate is laudable but completely lacking in insight, in my most humble opinion. Where would it end. How much is enough. Flipping burgers at a fast food chain should not be considered a career. Everyone has an opportunity to get an education, learn a skill to better themselves. Increasing the minimum wage would force employers more which would undoubtedly be passed on to the consumer. Not good. Once again, how much is enough.

That isn’t what the bishop was talking about. The bishop asserted that the minimum wage should be increased, but that decision has to be made on the basis of the economic impact such an action would have. More precisely, since no one really knows the full impact, the choice would be made on guesses about what would happen. Since an equally compelling case can be made that raising the minimum wage would do more damage than good, there is no basis for suggesting that choosing one position over the other involves a moral act.

The fact that setting the minimum wage is not a moral act is something you can determine for yourself. What should the wage be set to? If you cannot give a precise answer then it should be clear that this is not a moral choice. There are factors other than the needs of the workers that are involved and a balance has to be struck between competing needs. The problem is that once you admit this point you come face to face with the real question (which the bishops have clearly not addressed): what economic factors are relevant and how do they affect our decision?


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