The following comes from an Oct. 30 story in the Willits (CA) News.
Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 10 increasing the California minimum wage from $8 per hour which it has been since 2008, to $9 on July 1, 2014 and to $10 per hour on January 1, 2016….
Support for the bill came from a number of union organizations; the Catholic Conference of Bishops, the Legal Aid Association of California and other legal aid organizations; and the cities of Berkeley, Lathrop and West Hollywood….
Opponents of the bill include a host of chambers of commerce and business associations; the American Farm Bureau plus a variety of farming oriented associations; restaurant and lodging associations; and healthcare and home care associations.
Opponents believe the wage increase will harm the fragility of the economic recovery especially considering the yet unknown impact of implementing the Affordable Care Act, according to the legislative analyst.
“Opponents state that a study conducted by the National Federation of Independent Business found that depending upon the rate of inflation in future years, enacting this bill could result in 46,000 to 68,000 lost jobs in California by 2023, and a reduction in real output somewhere between $4.7-$5.7 billion. Opponents note that the Federation study also claims that the increase in minimum wage might cause employees currently earning above the minimum wage to put pressure on their employer for a raise in order to maintain the wage premium between them and the lowest-earning individuals in the economy, causing this bill to have an emulation effect,” says the legislative analyst. The NFIB is a small business association and lobbying group.
Federal minimum wage has remained at $7.25 since July 2009. Federal minimum wage law only applies to persons employed by businesses doing at least $500,000 in business; or those which do any type of interstate commerce or communications; or those working in state, federal or local governments; hospitals and health care facilities; or preschools. If an employee is covered by both state and federal minimum wage, then the highest wage and benefit is required to be paid.
Each state deals with the issues of minimum wages differently. There are 22 states with minimum wages set at the federal standard. Some states have automatic adjustments to match the federal standard.
There are five states, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, Louisiana and Tennessee, which have no state minimum wage standards. Four states, Arkansas, Georgia, Minnesota and Wyoming have minimum wages lower than the federal standard. Georgia and Wyoming set minimum wages at $5.15; Minnesota at $6.15; and Arkansas at $6.25.
Nineteen states, including California, currently set the minimum wage in excess of the federal minimum. Six states exceed California’s $8 per hour. Washington State has the highest current wage at $9.19; followed by Oregon at $8.95 and Vermont at $8.60. These states, plus four others, have annual cost of living adjustments built in….
To read the entire story, click here.
Congratulations, Jerry! You just killed another ten thousand jobs! Your compassion is commendable; your understanding of supply-and-demand is deplorable! The youth of California will be grateful for your good intentions!
Not to worry, public education if you can call it an education has devastated the minds of the young. They believe its their right to make $10.00 for whatever reason.
Did you actually look at the economic growth in the states with no or minimal minimum wages? If you had, you would realize that mandating a minimum wage correlates to higher economic growth. And higher compassion for the poorest among us.
The lists of states are in the article. Check them out, and see how Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana compare to Oregon and Washington.
California for starters.
YFC, I looked up the article “10 States That Enjoy the Highest Economic Growth” by Emily Coyle published June of this year. In explaining why these States are in the “top ten”, no where does she site the “minimum wage” as being the reason . I have no doubt that you could find a “correlation” with many things with regards to the “minimum wage” if you bother to look for them.
And, by the way, I reject your belief that government mandated redistribution of wealth indicates a higher compassion for the poorest among us.
Here’s a recent quote by David Clark, “My bill to raise the minimum wage to $15/hr was narrowly defeated. But I’m determined to keep up the fight for a fairer distribution of our country’s wealth.”
I don’t know David Clark, but he’s getting there. $20 might be close.
Tracy, government outlawed slavery in the 1860s. Wasn’t that a redistribution of wealth?
YFC, the slavery which was outlawed in this country is a whole other matter, which I have no doubt you clearly understand. “Redistribution of wealth” is akin to what Robbin Hood did.
Tracy, it is not a “whole different matter” simply because you say it is. It is even more a redistribution of wealth than a simple examination would support. In fact, not only did it (1) directly take away the “property” of the master, it (2) increased the federal tax base as the 4/5ths person for the sake of taxation became a full person. It was clearly seen as a way that the North was economically punishing the south, which was building a system of wealth built upon slave labor. Remember how the invention of the cotton gin fueled the demand for cotton pickers?? Well profits were part and parcel of the entire deal. Go after slavery and you go after cotton profits. So you can go ahead and proclaim that it is a wholly different matter, but you might want to look at the history and the facts again.
YFC, the 4/5ths a person was not about tax revenue, rather it was about counting the population with regards to representation. As the slaves did not have voting rights, the north felt that it would be unfair that the Southern States voters would have more representation than the Northern voters.
Still the fact remains, “government enforced redistribution of wealth” is immoral. Yes, Jesus did encourage the “rich man” to SELL what he had and give it to the poor”. Jesus did NOT tell Cesar to TAKE what the “rich man” had and give to the poor! Our current government policies are impoverishing more individuals such as myself, than they are making us wealthy.
Tracy cites Robin Hood; but one must get the facts straight in that story. Robin Hood did not steal from the rich to give to the poor. If reviewewd the story carefully, Robin Hood stole from the government and gave to the poor. It wasn’t redistribution of wealth, it was returning the wealth to the people that it has been stolen from. Think about it.
Tracy please learn history before you correct your fellow catholics. The rule was about counting people for the purposes of representation and TAXATION, since taxes in those days were apportioned according to population. Please read history, and, for that matter, the Constitution.
Redistribution of wealth is a necessary function of a healthy society. It’s amazing how successfully it’s been demonized (along with Socialism) by the right wing as Bolsheviks storming castles. Both have been employed here since the New Deal, and were enacted in large part to avoid social collapse and a real Bolshevik revolution here.
Progressive taxation, property and estate taxes, investment in infrastructure, public education, industry regulation, basic services that keep society safe and functioning, labor unions… all good things that have been in decline for decades, as there’s been a progressive redistribution of wealth upward… We’re basically back at the Gilded Age levels of wealth distribution. If that continues, we’ll function as well as Brazil or Mexico… or have serious political turmoil.
I’m amazed that the narrative against taxation and regulation, etc. — something that only benefits the enormously wealthy — has such traction with people who don’t benefit from it at all.
Progressive taxation=taxation based on a system of envy. Yes Sebastien I truly believe the left won’t be happy until the government is in complete control and owns everything. The good news for me is that the current situation is unsustainable and collapse is coming and the age of Big Government will truly be over and the end of 100 years of so called progressive government, where ruling elite thinks they know better than the citizens. I hope I live to see it…
Can you demonstrate how the “redistribution of wealth” built this country from scratch? And please do not tell me about the “conservation corps” after WWII. I want to know how our towns and cities sprung up, where there was once only a vast wilderness before this.
Canisius: If you hate progressive taxation, you’re lucky, as we now have a functionally regressive system of taxation that pushes the burden onto the middle/lower classes, and most income to the top in in the form of capital gains… taxed at a much lower rate, and heavily sheltered.
This country wasn’t built from scratch. It was conquered, colonized, and stolen from a native population, employing slavery as a labor force. It was hardly a blank canvas where virtue flourished.
But to be less glib; progressive taxation isn’t based in envy. It’s a meta function of mediating for an optimal market economy. It should never disincentivize a profit motive. A market economy requires regulation and mediation, or it naturally gravitates into monopolies, dynastic wealth, and social inequity that has a negative effect on the economy as a whole.
YFC: There is no appreciable correlation between the minimum wage and economic growth. If we had strong economic growth, setting a minimum wage would be moot. Wages would rise as a function of demand for labor, not by government mandate. As long as we have an open border, wages will remain suppressed because there will always be a labor surplus. This is a simple equation that no amount of wishful thinking and good intentions will ever change. Massive immigration of low skilled, largely illiterate labor is the culprit. The laws of economics can be distorted by government fiat, but the basics shall always apply.
Anton, I don’t dispute your post. You do a very good job of highlighting that economics is a complex science. My case for a strong minimum wage law is not based in its ability to support the economy (though I believe it DOES strengthen the economy because almost all of the added wages get put back into the economy). My argument supporting a strong minimum wage law is that it is the right and just thing to do.
Let ’em eat cake!
$10 isn’t a just wage either, but it’s a buck-fifty closer. Hooray!
Those who think that the market determines what a just wage is must think the popes taught for nothing. If the market determined just wages, there would be no need to advocate for one.
Maybe the popes should stick on getting souls to heaven….
Sure, that’s what Hitler told Pius, too. Leo addresses that claim in the first few paragraphs of Rerum Noverum, if you can stand to look.
Brian S that argument on Hitler was not a good one…..especially since many souls are lost now a days due to poor Catholicism. Now while I don’t see any issues with raising this minimum wage, since fast food restaurants are making a tone of profits, perhaps I don’t get this issue much, but I think it’s a good idea. People forget that it’s not just kids working but also unskilled adults too. The cost of living in California is very expensive too. The gas prices went up, food etc….so I don’t see any issue with raising the minimum wage. I hate when people use that excuse that the liberals want to redistribute money, it may be true to a point but in this instance, i don’t see anything wrong with implementing a minimum wage that will rise up to the inflation we are experiencing. The only thing I am concerned about is that those making the big bucks, may rebel and raise their prices on things too….so who knows, I hope that they find it in their hearts to be charitable.
Abeca, did you see my quote above from the Democrat and David Clark, who considers the minimum wage a “redistribution of wealth”?
I understand your and others belief that a government imposed minimum wage helps the poor, but this is simply not true. I would encourage you and others to take Hillsdale college’s free online Economics 101 course to become better educated on this subject.
Abeca, another thing to ponder; a government imposed minimum wage is a contradiction to the Catholic doctrine of Subsidiarity.
Tracy you’ll have to explain this one. Catholic social teaching requires that we use governmental policy to alleviate suffering. You can’t use subsidiarity to pretend that keeping working people impoverished is in keeping with Catholic moral teaching.
Tracy I respect what you are saying… but I don’t know what to tell you, I guess I differ in opinion….I don’t view it as helping the poor….It may help balance greed…in the old days people were paid very low wages (like in the years of Saint Maria Goretti etc) to the point that they worked and worked and still couldn’t get ahead…well it doesn’t matter, its not a salvation issue for me to argue about…so I respect what you and others are saying…..good to learn more on I suppose…thank you for trying to explain it to me…God bless you dear sister in Christ.
YFC, when you say that Catholic social teaching REQUIRES that we use governmental policy to alleviate suffering, this simply does not make sense, nor is it true. The Church teaches the doctrine subsidiarity. Just because this is ignored by the majority of the hierarchy in the Church today, does not make it invalid. Nowhere does the Church teach that governments have an obligation to tax its citizenry to take care of the poor.
Pure supply-demand economics may say no government intervention in the market. But Catholic social teaching urges a just wage. I’d rather pay a little more and see the low wage workers closer to a just wage. Perhaps this will leave a bit less for the top earners. Apparently, they have been raking in almost all of the economic gains of the last decade. Remember the reason Henry Ford instituted the $5 day in the early days of the auto industry.
mike magee, you do not understand economics. I use to make minimum wage for years ranging from $2.90/hour to $3.60 per hour. The average room for rent in those days was approximately $150 per month. Try to rent a room on skid row for that amount today! When the minimum wage goes up EVERYTHING goes up!
Skid row prices did not go up because the minimum wage went up. Skid row prices went up as downtowns were gentrified to accommodate the well-to-do, especially young well-to-do who value access to entertainments more than personal security.
Brian S. When I used the term “skid row” it was just an expression. In fact, rooms for rent in immigrant communities are also exorbitant. These areas are hardly “gentrified”. What we have had here in the past 25 years, however, are people coming from foreign countries with suitcases full of cash, willing to pay homeowners well over the current market rate. This has encouraged many Americans to sell their home and leave. The adult children, whose parents have remained, (due to the subsequent artificial rise in housing cost),cannot now afford to live in the towns they grew up in. Where I live it is well known that the hundreds of empty restaurants and other small business are hubs for money laundering. Where I live the “poor” are being paid under the table, while receiving welfare benefits. People who think government controlled wages will raise people out of “poverty” are fooling themselves. The “poverty” we do have in abundance is “moral poverty”,a “poverty of knowledge of history”, and a “poverty of knowledge of economics”. Democrats tell us that they are the champions of the poor! They say they are the ones who will help the poor! Well, California and the City of Detroit, for example, have had a democrat super majority for years. I don’t see the so called “poor” going away in these areas! But let’s say that poverty was actually irradiated, would anyone find the need to vote for a Democrat ever again? The truth is that California and Detroit are both bankrupt.
One of the punch lines I used when I was the Republican Nominee for Congress was: “the Democrats claim they are the party of the poor, well they are because there are no more people poor because of their “policies” than ever would have been without those “policies”!
How poor are Soros, Rockefeller, the Kennedys, etc. etc. ad nauseam? Why is it that the Republicans, especially the true Conservative ones are always being outspent by a factor sometimes as high as 10 to 1?
May God have mercy on an amoral Amerika!
Viva Cristo Rey!
God bless, yours in Their Hearts
Kenneth M. Fisher, Founding Director
Concerned Roman Catholics of America, Inc.
What you are demonstrating is how much less the minimum wage is now, in real terms, than it used to be.
Brian S. Inflation is a modern day phenomenon. It is artificially produced.
Every week my groceries bills are going up and I am getting less and less for it!
May God have mercy on an amoral Amerika!
Viva Cristo Rey!
God bless, yours in Their Hearts
Kenneth M. Fisher, Founding Director
Concerned Roman Catholics of America, Inc.
“One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.”
― Milton Friedman
Intentions = A+ grade
Results = F grade
The people at the bottom suffer from this kind of thing and the union workers (who are all doing well benefit).
The higher the cost of labor the more capital will find ways to use less workers. Higher minimum wage means less jobs for the poorest workers.
Even the NCCB can not repeal the laws of Economics though they never quit trying.
If union workers are “all doing well” I’m sure you support unions and broader unionization. Is that true?
Brian S. when JimAroo stated that “the union workers (who are all doing well benefit)”, he also stated that “the people at the bottom” suffer. In other words, Brian, union workers are NOT at the bottom. The truth is that the State of California is bankrupt. The pensions which have been promised union workers are unsustainable. When the Church talks about a “just wage”, let’s think about what the word “just” means, (the right amount). So we need to consider that union workers are NOT being paid the “right amount”. In fact, they are unjustly being over compensated for their work.
The Church has defined what just wage is, and it enough for a wage earner (note the singular) to support their family in reasonable comfort, including savings, education, and leisure.
Few union workers are earning a just wage, certainly no adult minimum wage earners are. As for over-compensation, why do you assume to know better than “the market” in those cases, when you support it so much otherwise?
Brian S. : Where exactly has the church established what a “just wage” is and by what right could they have done such a foolish thing. To dictate wage levels by legislation is simple distribution: You take earned income from one citizen and give it to another. That is theft. “When you take from Peter to give to Paul” …. you know the rest.
Brian S. As far as I know, every government employee in the State of California belongs to a union. There is no “market” forces in play in government jobs.
No smash the unions and their corrupt leaders
The unions are getting more and more at the price of our Nation’s freedoms. Heck NO, I don’t support union thugs and their thievery!
May God have mercy on an amoral Amerika!
Viva Cristo Rey!
God bless, yours in Their Hearts
Kenneth M. Fisher, Founding Director
Concerned Roman Catholics of America, Inc.
But what you have written requires COMMON SENSE, and the people pushing this socialist farce, including most of our “bishops” have little of that.
Where in the Constitution are governments given the power to set wages?
May God have mercy on an amoral Amerika!.
Viva Cristo Rey!
God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
Kenneth M. Fisher
Kenneth, the answer is easy: “In order to make a more perfect union.”
While I hate the unions and don’t feel that they are necessary anymore…..I still don’t see anything wrong with raising the minimum wage.
Bob One, did you mean in order to make a more perfect SOVIET union?
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Bob One, please demonstrate to me what our founding fathers meant by “promote the general Welfare”, since there was no such thing as Federal “welfare” as we have had since the mid 20th century and with none of the Federal Agencies we now have today. Our Founding Fathers clearly had something else in mind when they inserted the phrase “promote the general Welfare” than how most of us today understand the term “welfare”.
Bob One: This is silly. “A more prefect union” has nothing to do with the price of tea in China.
Way to go!!
NOBODY can live with $7.00 an hour.
Coming from men who have no idea what it’s like to meet payroll every week and who live in residences paid for by others……
Tony de New York, I have lived on far less than this for many years here in the United States! And I am STILL alive! And no, I have never taken any public nor private assistance from anyone. (although, I must admit standard college tuition in California is lower than the true cost of the education I received)
Who can live on $10.00 per hr.? I’m barely getting by on my$41.00 an hr. By the time I pay my taxes, pay the mortgage on my 2200 sq ft home and two car payments, kids teeth and school and a cruise every year I’m broke. I barely am able to put any money away for the kids college. Why stop at $10,00 dollars an hour? I need a sustainable wage I can live on
Tony: Nobody can live on seven bucks an hour. Nobody is expected to. If the skills you have to offer are worth only $7.00/hr. it’s time to go back to school, mate!
Well, the bishops probably realize that we won’t need those 68,000 jobs because those who would have filled those jobs will have been aborted! The California Conference of Bishops will have to answer the question some day “have you been a good and faithful shepherd”? God help their souls!
There’s a great map put out by the City of SF showing how many full time minimum wage jobs you’d need (at the City’s current $10.24) to live in a two bedroom apartment in various neighborhoods. The cheapest would require a 136 hour work week.
Things don’t cost what they use too either. My parents where able to buy a house with just a one year salary (and that was when dad’s where the only ones working, while we had more stay at home mums). Wow that is unheard of today, even those who worked for years and years and finally went up the ladder as a supervisor or manager, still don’t make in one year enough to pay off their house…not even close.
My grandfather was a school custodian, and supported a family of six, on a single income, in a house that now would have a mortgage of $7000 (so require a salary of $250k or so). Such a dramatic change.
That’s a lot of the reason the birth rate is so low in cities. People wait until the last possible minute in an attempt to be in the best possible financial shape… then often discover it’s too late.
Starting, at least back to the 60’s, population controllers were searching for a way to get women to reproduce less. They started by redefining what “feminism” was. They pushed birth control and abortion. They convinced women that they were miserable staying at home to raise children. All this pushed women into the workforce. Once this happened more and more Federal government agencies were established. All of this demanded more tax dollars. As taxes started to skyrocket, women, who would have liked to stay at home raising kids, found it necessary to go to work. The other issue was the increase of divorce and out of wedlock births, which contraception and abortion is largely responsible for. Catholics and others of good will have lost the virtue of Temperance. We need to return to true Catholicism if we ever hope to renew our sick society.
Sebastien: If you want to live in a high-priced area like California, you’d better be well prepared in terms of education, have marketable skills, and plenty of ambition. If you lack these qualities, you’d better not try to live in California. It cannot be done! Go to Texas!
I want to make it clear…while I have a different view point on liking this raise of the minimum wage…I do not approve of Unions ruling nor do I accept socialism.
Abeca, when a government establishes and enforces a minimum wage, this is “socialism”. I know you mean well, but the majority of Americans, including the clergy, do not understand economics. This ignorance has us falling into the very hands of the “Socialists” you claim to detest. I imagine you are not interested in Hillsdale’s economics course I suggested in an earlier post, but you might be interested in the TFP group, (Tradition, Family, Property) run by Catholics who follow the traditional teachings of the Church or the Acton Institute founded by Fr. Sirico. Both of these groups do a great job on teaching the principle of subsidiarity and the evils of socialism.
Tracy I can understand why you would say that enforcing a minimum wage is socialism. Fine I won’t argue with you there. Economics may not be my thing but I have different priorities, usually they are salvation issues. The way I view it is that because of mankind’s sins and greed, a minimum wage was imposed, (again take a quick review on Maria Ghoretti’s life, they were unpaid and never got ahead), how about feminism? It was started because the opposite sex didn’t honor God and some abused or mistreated their women and children. Etc…..sin complicates things and the reality today is what we are forced to live in and I can understand that raising the wages can and may raise prices other places, but if we look at the truth, it is not necessary to raise prices because minimum wage jobs like fast food chains etc are making big time profits. Their greed does not produce good fruit, because then you have covetousness, envy etc etc……. Property management who own commercial properties charge tons of money to lease. Take a large grocery chain, they pay between $10,000 to $200,000 a month just for leasing the place, no wonder prices are high.
I wouldn’t mind Hillsdale economics course but I am studying the saints and their writings…wish I had more time. Now if the Holy Ghost prompts me to head that direction anytime soon, then I will obey. But for now, since this is not under my control and dealing with the reality of this country….I am considering the good people who work hard and are under paid. Things are a lot different now, especially with Obama spending like a crazy man…I don’t see this article news being the root of the problem….the root is much more ….its other things in combination that are raising our cost of living.
Abeca, those who have a job these days, no matter what they are being paid, are better off than the 91.5 million Americans who are still unemployed and are no longer eligible for unemployment compensation. I happen to be one of them. In addition to this our Federal Government, not counting our State governments, is currently trillions of dollars in debt. China holds much of this debt. Even if we in America wake up now, it may be too late to save us from a level of misery never known of before in this country. Obama Care is a huge nail in the coffin already built for us.
We should never say, oh well, because of sin we should accept socialistic policies. These policies are from the evil one, not God. Just as the forbidden fruit appeared harmless to Adam and Eve, so, I would argue, does the “minimum wage” look harmless to those of us who think it is not really such a bad thing. Socialist have known for a long time that the average America would not accept it, so in order to entice us to accept it, they have been dishing out one “harmless” policy after another until one day we are trapped! I am afraid that this day is here. As the old saying goes, “sooner or later, you will have to pay the piper.” The past 10 Popes have all spoken out against Socialism, as has our Blessed Mother. We are now paying the price for ignoring them.
Here are some simple calculations that might shed light on this issue.
If a person makes $10 per hour, they make $1,600 per month if they work full time. They are unlikely to amass the $60,000 down-payment on a typical $300,000 three bedroom home in California. But, if they did, the monthly payment -PTI- would be $1,600 per month leaving no money for food, gas to get to work, etc. So, they are relegated to a two bedroom apartment that averages $900-1,200 per month which isn’t much better. How do they amass the other $20K per year to send a kid to college at a public university or college? How do they pay for a car? How do they cloth the kids? Every time the issue of minimum wage increases comes up people wring their hands about people losing jobs and companies going out of business. It doesn’t happen! Frankly, if we left it up to the corporate chiefs to determine what was a fair wage, they would make it as low as possible so that they could make more. Wait a minute! Haven’t they been doing that right along. Free enterprise is great as long as there are protections built in to avoid exploiting the workers and avoiding the greed that cause the great recession we are experiencing. $10 per hour may be the minimum pay, but it is not a living wage!
Google Living Wage calculator to find out what it costs to live in your area.
For Sacramento, CA the living wage is listed at nearly $25/hour for a family of two adults and two children. $8.80/hour for the same family is below the poverty level. Even in Mississippi, the same family would need nearly $19/hour to have a living wage. Anything below that is considered poverty.
Thank you for the reality check, Bob One. I think it is difficult for the older folks among us to imagine how daunting it is to start out adult life when it is so expensive to live, yet unemployment is so high, and jobs that pay a living wage are pretty rare. It is not a system that can sustain itself for long, unless we want Brazilian style favelahs scattered among our gentrified neighborhoods.
Clearly this one has never run a business. PS: And kudos to JimAroo. Glad to see someone here reads (St.) Milton Friedman. Ought to be compulsory for Freshman Economics.
What better way to get votes at no expense to themselves. The political establishment has exempted themselves as well as protected their own jobs sucking money out of the taxpayers for their own benefit. . Start with the senators, reps in fed and state government picking up from lobbies and super corporations with out of the country havens. On the other side of the coin, is everyone guaranteed a constitutional right to live in California or New York?
Those low wage earners aren’t the only ones collecting at the Socialist trough!!
Many understand that when the minimum wage goes up, the cost of the goods and services provided go up as well. But this is NOT ALL that goes up. Yes, your sales tax burden will also increase! So a byproduct of raising the minimum wage is that the State of California will end up collecting more sales taxes from everyone without even raising the tax rate.
Anton, Leo XIII defined “just wage” and it’s rationale in Rerum Novarm – “there underlies a dictate of natural justice more imperious and ancient than any bargain between man and man, namely, that wages ought not to be insufficient to support a frugal and well-behaved wage-earner. If through necessity or fear of a worse evil the workman accept harder conditions because an employer or contractor will afford him no better, he is made the victim of force and injustice. ”
But I’m sure you know that. An authority you may be more willing to accept, Adam Smith, in Wealth of Nations, wrote, “No society can surely be ﬂourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable. It is but equity, besides, that they who feed, clothe, and lodge the whole body of the people, should have such a share of the produce of their own labour as to be themselves tolerably well fed, cloathed and lodged. “
Brian S. Is it just that we are being taxed by our government without our consent to pay for programs that are in violation to the Constitution of the United States, not to mention the Constitutions of many of our individual State governments? Why is inflation a modern phenomena? These issues need to be included before you even start talking about what is a just wage.
Tracy if you really believe you are paying for unconstitutional programs, then you should sue the government. And if you think inflation is a modern phenomena, well never mind. I’m not even sure what that has to do with anything, even if it were not preposterous.
YFC, there are those that have and are currently suing the government over violations of the constitution, but I as an individual do not have the resources to hire a law firm on my own. I really doubt that you believe that everyone who has had an injustice done to them, can afford their day in court.
As far as inflation goes, it is a result of governments, including our own, printing money with no backing to it. The USA dropped the “gold standard” about 45 years ago. This is one of the major reasons why you have seen inflation go out of control since then. In addition we are living off of massive amounts of borrowed money. Someone will have to pay off this debt and we are not reproducing enough these days to ever make this possible.
Tracy is right.
Give it up with Brian S, Anton: he also has previously asserted (falsely) that Leo XIII condemned capitalism (of course untrue, and explicitly clarified by Piux XI), so his whole rationale is that Church social teaching empowers the modern leviathan neo-Leninist State to mandate and order the taking of everything and redistributing it to “the poor”, in this case the opiate of a mythical “just minimum wage” . (Brian even thinks it should be $20/hr: why stop there, Brian? Why not $100/hr?)
I never ceased to be amazed at the number of socialists that think they are Catholics. But it is so soothingly self-congratulatory to be one.
How is Socialism any less Catholic than Social Darwinism, unmediated plutocracy, or whatever it is you’re advocating here? None are tenable in pure form, but at least Socialism is rooted in an ideology advocating for human dignity (however badly it’s failed in practice).
I love that Catholic Social Justice ruffles the feathers of so many, because it challenges what has otherwise become straightforwardly partisan-Right political ideology… and often see the partisanship supersede the Catholic teaching in ways that undermine any claim to moral high ground. As an oft-demonized demonized Leftist, that is soothing.
Sebastien, I find the following statement you made to be problematic. “at least Socialism is rooted in an ideology advocating for human dignity (however badly it’s failed in practice).” So are you saying that even though Socialism has failed badly in practice, the claim that it “ADVOCATES for human dignity” makes it good?
You may be interested in this article “What the Popes Really Say About Socialism”. It can be found at tfpstudentaction.org along with other articles which explain why the Church rejects Socialism in all its forms.
I looked at that site. Thanks for the link. The “10 reasons to reject” article is fairly subjective, or relies heavily on worst case scenarios. The Pope quotes are a great piece of historical reference, as they parallel the timeline of the emergence of a philosophy, to its various structural forms through the 19th-21st centuries. It’s hard not to factor in official statements in relation to a philosophy that calls religion “the opiate of the masses”. Even if communism had worked beautifully, no pope could ignore that. There’s an element of structural threat.
But no one is calling for a Cultural Revolution these days, anyway.
In terms of ‘advocating for human dignity’, as a philosophy, it’s fine. It’s morally superior to advocating for a plutocracy’s ability to maintain its advantage.
Sebastian, I guess, I should not be surprised that you would essentially dismissed what the Popes have had to say in rejecting Socialism. But I guess I am dumbfounded that you, a CCD reader, can actually deny that a “cultural revolution” is in fact being advocated for each and every day at every level of our society!
On another note, could you explain to me from where you derive your philosophy which essentially elevates feelings over truth?
As for why $20 and not $100, it is because $20 may be enough to support a single worker. How can you think there is no amount required to meet Leo’s requirements, or that we are not to consider the amount necessary for our times and conditions?
Benedict XVI on socialism: “It is not our intention here to repeat the arguments which clearly expose the errors of Socialism and of similar doctrines.” Encyclical Ad Beatissimi, 1914. Pius XI, 1931 “We make this pronouncement: Whether considered as a doctrine, or an historical fact, or a movement, Socialism,…even after it has yielded to truth and justice on the points which we have mentioned, cannot be reconciled with the teachings of the Catholic Church” Quad Anno. Religious socialism, Christian socialism, are contradictory terms; no one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist.” (Quad Anno, again). John XXIII, ““No Catholic could subscribe even to moderate socialism” (Mater & Magistra, 1961). JP2 on socialism, quoting Leo XIII: “However,(Leo XIII) correctly judged the danger posed to the masses by the attractive presentation of this simple and radical solution to the ‘question of the working class.’” (Cent. Annus, 1991); BXVI, 2005: “In the end, the claim that just social structures would make works of charity superfluous masks a materialist conception of man: the mistaken notion that man can live ‘by bread alone’ (Mt 4:4; cf. Dt 8:3) – a conviction that demeans man and ultimately disregards all that is specifically human.” Every Pope from Leo XIII on has condemned socialism and declaratively stated that a faithful Catholic cannot be a socialist and that socialism and the social state is a force of atheistic materialism.
Very impressive. I’m blown away by the detail you’ve gone into there.
Grain of salt: JP2 grew up in Stalin-era Poland. He couldn’t possibly like Socialism (or whatever the authoritarian Soviet system that bore its name was).
Atheistic materialism is the prevailing frame of thought in contemporary society anyway. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, if society respects/protects religious freedom, and every society is a hybrid of political ideologies (Socialism being one that’s worked better as an influence on value systems than in practice). There are worse things. Theocracy is probably the most oppressive form of governance to minority religions. Catholics should understand this, as if the US were a theocracy, it would be some kind of fundamentalist evangelical variety that would persecute Catholics as idol worshippers. Every time a see a Catholic decrying Enlightenment ideals, that contradiction is all I see.
The Church flourished under feudalism. Environments that are good for the Church are not necessarily good for the people.
The contemporary US version of economic materialism, with a vague nod to being “Christian” isn’t any better.
Sebastien, you said “(Socialism being one that’s worked better as an influence on value systems than in practice)”. Wow, you really believe that “Socialism” has helped create a BETTER value system than Catholicism? Socialism ultimately violates all of the 10 Commandments. Which is why Socialist HATE the 10 Commandments. Please stop and think why you must keep repeating the fact that Socialism “does NOT work in practice”!
The value systems aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. Not entirely, at least.
And I love your Lenin quote, btw. A nice expression of the value system. Social mobility. (the horror!) You can see why Lenin was an effective revolutionary leader, and why that message would find an audience in a an environment of rigid endemic class structure and polar stratification in Britain (and Russia).
Obviously, the problem, in practice, in Russia, China and elsewhere was a concentration of power with no moderating influence and lifetime autocratic rule, that quickly established a similar dynamic to what preceded it, with a sad ironic aesthetic of patronizing “the worker”. But violent revolution usually results in little actual progress.
Hybrid democratic socialism (to varying degrees) with a market economy has actually worked pretty well in Scandinavia, Western Europe, Canada, and here. The key to any successful political system is a balance of power (something in wane in the US).
Sebastien, what can I say, you sure seem to be smitten by socialism’s false promise of Utopia! Any way, you package socialism, it is still socialism and the Church opposes it. It’s ideology is in contradiction with Church teaching, and as I said above, it rejects the 10 Commandments. Check out “TFP Student Action”. In their search box, type the word “socialism”.
OK Steve Phoenix. So to make your argument relevant to this discussion, maybe you want to tell us how a minimum wage puts the ownership of the means of manufacture and distribution of goods in the hands of the state, which is, after all, the definition of socialism.
YFC (11/12/13) says: “Maybe you want to tell us how a minimum wage puts the ownership of the means of manufacture and distribution of goods in the hands of the state, which is, after all, the definition of socialism.” Straw man argument and mixed-up facts in one sentence. It is the state-run socialist Leviathan mandating a fixed wage on private enterprise for work that is unsupported by the economics that is so destructive. A mandated unprofitable minimum wage destroys both business profitability and lower-end job opportunity (ex. automatic gas pumps and supermarket check-outs). Eventually as industry slows (look at what is happening in this country the last 5 years) and production is destroyed, the state progressively takes over all means of production and operates them — with even more disastrous consequences. Lenin was smart enough to realize market economics created winners and losers — and so he sought to seize all the levers of power to impose coercive wage and price controls (especially a minimum wage), proposing a minimum wage (in Pravda, 1913) as part of the proposed “equitable” system now bearing his name. The most important thing to remember, YFC: even the progressives’ hero, John XXIII stated, “No Catholic could subscribe even to moderate socialism” (Mater & Magistra, 1961).
“We must secure a minimum wage for the labourer, shorten the working day, give him a decent, comfortable cottage and a plot of land so that he can grow a certain amount of produce for his family. We must secure for him a ladder of progress in order that the ‘enterprising’ labourer may rise from the small allotment, the kitchen garden, to the small holding….We want the British worker to find sustenance for himself, a free life and comfort for himself and for his children right here, in England, in our own country.” -VI Lenin, Oct 12, 1913. Intoxicating stuff for Sebastian and Brian S. It was intoxicating for Lenin and Trotsky and others to kill for it, too. And they did. A lot.
Leo calls for goverments to enforce minimum wage and working conditions in perfectly explicit terms within Rerum Novarum, yet he was not a socialist. You quote Lenin.
Why not quote Leo?
“The richer class have many ways of shielding themselves, and stand less in need of help from the State; whereas the mass of the poor have no resources of their own to fall back upon, and must chiefly depend upon the assistance of the State.”
Brian S. , who is “Leo”?
Forgive, I responded to Tracy and you in a different thread. Hope you don’t think I’m badgering you. Thanks for the responses.
This is a wonderful bit of rhetoric, isn’t it? It may have been delivered in earnest in 1913. Animal Farm, Chapter 1.
Correction, I should clarify Lenin is approvingly quoting Lloyd George in the prior post—but Lenin is all for the program.
So what? Just because Lenin says something doesn’t make it socialism! If Lenin said, “This lobster is divine”, he doesn’t make shellfish a socialist Godhead!
It was the noted communist and former Prime Minister of England, Lloyd George, who made that revolutionary manifesto, not Lenin. Note the bomb-thrower talk about workers being able to “find sustenance for himself, a free life and comfort for himself and for his children right here, in England”.
Talk like that must have led to the socialist horror-land that is England today!
Steve and others are apparently just unwilling to believe that the Church has called for governmental protections for the working class and the poor, despite the clear instructions of Leo XIII and of every pope since, preferring to label every advocacy for it socialism or communism.
Income protections, including minimum wages, simply does not equate to socialism or communism. I know this is true, if for no other reason than that the Church advocates for them. She cannot advocate for what She condemns.
Brian S, please see my prior post clarifying: Lenin is quoting a speech by Lloyd George wholeheartedly approving of the latter’s radical socialization plan, the speech quoted by Lenin in Pravda.
So Lloyd George was a communist?
Brian S 11/12/2013: “Leo (XIII) calls for goverments to enforce minimum wage and working conditions in perfectly explicit terms within Rerum Novarum (RN).” Wrong: I don’t know where Brian S got his copy of RN, but RN and Leo XIII never at all use the word “enforce/enforcement” of a “minimum wage” nor “working conditions,” and in fact they define a just wage (never “minimum wage”) as those ” that ..ought not to be insufficient to support a frugal and well-behaved wage-earner.” (n. 45). Enforcement is the Golden Calf of the modern-day neo-socialist, advocating a crushing state apparatus that iron-fistedly imposes its will on its citizens. In fact, the “Church strives to influence the mind & heart” (n. 21) of all in the state and society. A ruler should be “like a father” (n.35) and see that “justice should be observed.” (n.35) The employer and working man make “free agreements” on wages, and in fact there should not be ” undue interference on the part of the State.” (n. 45) The role in Church social teaching is always “to remind of their duties”, not to advocate for “enforcement” of punitive actions by the neo-Leninist state. And most of all, YFC, Sebastian, and Brian S, ” Socialists, by endeavoring to transfer the possessions of individuals to the community at large, strike at the interests of every wage-earner, since they would deprive him of the liberty of disposing of his wages, and thereby of all hope and possibility of increasing his resources and of bettering his condition in life.” (n.5) “Hence, it is clear that the main tenet of socialism, community of goods, must be utterly rejected, since it only injures those whom it would seem meant to benefit, is directly contrary to the natural rights of mankind. (n. 15). This is ACTUALLY what RN and “Leo” have to say on the matter
Leo bluntly states that “Whenever the general interest or any particular class suffers, or is threatened with harm, which can in no other way be met or prevented, the public authority must step in to deal with it.” (P36). He also writes “…wage-earners, since they mostly belong in the mass of the needy, should be specially cared for and protected by the government.” He need not use the word “enforce” or “enforcement” to be clearly understood by for one seeking meaning.
As for working conditions, paragraph 42 is a long list of working conditions which are to regulated, all “to save unfortunate working people from the cruelty of men of greed, who use human beings as mere instruments for money-making.”
And of course minimum wage laws are a means by which governments may enforce a just wage, and in this your snippet from paragraph 45 is grossly misleading, as it goes on to say “that wages ought not to be insufficient to support a frugal and well-behaved wage-earner. If through necessity or fear of a worse evil the workman accept harder conditions because an employer or contractor will afford him no better, he is made the victim of force and injustice.”
I hope we agree that the Church insists on justice. As for State intervention in that and other conditions, Leo calls for it directly in concluding that paragraph, stating “the State (shall be) appealed to, should circumstances require, for its sanction and protection.”
Steve good comments! I like how you conveyed.
YFC: The reason I quote Lenin is because it is striking that 100 years later (“Centesimus Annus”) the old murderous radical’s ideas are alive and well (such as promoting class warfare via the idea of “the minimum wage”, which will never actually advance progress of the low-end worker) and are being espoused by so many neo-socialist “catholics” (small “c”). Lenin’s approving quote in favor of the minimum wage I noted above was written in Pravda in the year 1913. Hmmm. 100 years and we havent learned a thing. And by the way, the $$$ to operate Pravda and the London International Soviet came from banks that Stalin was robbing and killing bank guards to get in Port Baku. Read “Young Stalin”, by Simon S Montefiore and get the truth on this band of criminals, the forefathers of George Soros.
Again, the fact that Lenin supported a minimum wage idea does not in itself make it socialist, wrong, or a bad idea. Despite whether you agree or diagree with the bulk of Lenin’s ideas does not mean that he might have been right once and a while, and socialism is NOT the sum total of what he believed. For all we know, he may have loved French Toast every morning for breakfast, but if we eat French Toast, that doesn’t make us socialist!
YFC, I agree with you that “if we eat French Toast, that doesn’t make us a socialists”, but to say that socialism was NOT the “sum total of what Lenin believed” would be something , I think even he would disagree with you on! Could we equally say that if Mother Teresa ate French Toast, that doesn’t make her a Catholic? I would respond, so what? It doesn’t NOT make her a Catholic either. I would argue that even if both Mother Teresa and Lenin ate the same amount of French toast during the course of their lifetimes, the most casual observer could still say with confidence that Socialism IS the sum total of what Lenin believed and Catholicism IS the sum total of what Mother Teresa believed.
I hope folks will read Rerum Novarum for themselves, and not rely upon Steve’s fantasy that claims it does not insist on the participation of the civil authority, which it must throughly does. However, if you are pressed for time….Leo directly cites the argument made by the capitalists then, and by Steve Phoenix now, in paragraph 43, and then resoundingly rejects it in paragraphs 44 and 45.
“Job Gap Widens in Uneven Recovery”, Wall Street Journal, 11/12/13: “America’s jobs recovery is proceeding on two separate tracks—a pattern that is persisting far longer than after past economic rebounds..the young, the less educated,and particularly the unemployed—are experiencing hardly any recovery at all. Hiring remains weak,” “If you look at guys with just a high-school diploma or less than a high-school diploma, those guys are still in a recession,” (Tom Porcelli, RBC chief economist)..Meanwhile for those further up the income ladder, the recovery has been stronger..” According to Dept Labor and RBC Management statistics, youth unemployment, which is slower to recover after a recession, and which took 30 mos. in the 1990’s, now in 2013, is going on 52 mos. yet still the youth unemployment rate hasnt recovered (it’s about 14.5% as of Sept 2013). During this same time, the triumphant Ted Kennedys and Nancy Pelosi’s and others were advancing their minimum wage crusade, which as every rational economist points out, eliminates more and more low-end jobs: employers are forced to simply “do without” extra entry-level help. But the neo-socialist catholics can’t figure out why lower end jobs are disappearing. Raise it again, Sam!
What are you talking about Steve? Ted Kennedy died in 2009, and was hardly triumphant and waging crusades about anything for years before that. He was barely able to get around even at the beginning of the recession, let alone in 2013, 4 years after he died! If the recession was caused or is being continued by minimum wage, then why didn’t it hurt in the decades leading up to the great recession?
YFC, if you know the history of Ted Kennedy’s life (I do), he was one of the first proponents for the minimum wage.
By the way at least 3 of Ted Kennedy’s fiery (and mostly senseless speeches) advocating for the minimum wage can be seen from 2007 on YouTube, YFC: just input “Ted Kennedy minimum wage speeches”. Become enlightened. The point is the effect of driving up the minimum wage is to destroy low-end jobs (which the Wall St Journal article documents).
YFC, I think that you bring up a good question when you ask, “why didn’t the minimum wage hurt in decades up to the great recession?” I would argue that the minimum wage has always hurt, however, in such a large and dynamic economy as the United States it can be easily overshadowed by a plethora of other factors.
This topic of the minimum raise has encouraged me to do a bit more research above and beyond what I have already known. I just discovered a couple of articles that explain why America Samoa has been hurt by an enforced minimum wage. As Samoa is a small, isolated economy, it is easier to see and therefore understand how a minimum wage can hurt those very folks its proponents seek to help. https://www.acton.org/pub/commentary/2011/07/06/minimum-wage-law-backfires-american-samoa
As the old saying goes “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions” I’d love to hear what you think.
Tracy, I shouldn’t have to remind you of this, but we live in America, not American Samoa. American Samoa is a tiny island nation with a very non-diverse economy. We, however live in America, with the most diverse economy on earth. Please do not pretend that you can compare the American economy with the American Samoan economy. That is just silly talk.
YFC, I thought that you would have understood WHY I chose American Samoa. It is precisely BECAUSE of the lack of diversity in their economy. The two authors I sited chose the island for the exact same reason! If you are at all familiar with scientific method, as I thought you were, you would know that one can only prove something by doing a “controlled study”. It would therefore be very difficult to prove or disprove the advantages or the disadvantages of an imposed minimum wage in such a dynamic society as continental USA because it is harder to find a control. This is not to say that there isn’t evidence of the destruction of an imposed minimum wage on various communities and individuals in the USA, but nay sayers could and actually do try to disprove it by saying the destruction was caused by other factors. By using the island of Samoa, it is therefore a better control and harder to argue with the outcomes. Did you even bother to read the studies before you decided to criticizes them and me?
No. 45 Rerum Nov: “Let the working man and the employer make free agreements, and in particular let them agree freely as to the wages;…” “in order to supersede undue interference on the part of the State, especially as circumstances, times, and localities differ so widely, it is advisable that recourse be had to societies or boards such as We shall mention presently, or to some other mode of safeguarding the interests of the wage-earners; the State being appealed to, should circumstances require, for its sanction and protection. ” Yes, I think people should read RN for themselves to see that socialists have an almost psychotic view of Catholic social teaching. And by the way, Leo XIII never ever uses the word “enforce” with regard to state police powers nor the phrase “minimum wage.”
We get it. You dont like the minimum wage. Although I don’t agree with you, there are reasons to be opposed. But please don’t try to claim that it violates catholic social teaching. Because it just doesn’t.
The issue is that the minimum wage destroys jobs, and the issue is also that the encyclicals on Catholic social teaching speak of a “just wage” and a just relationship between employer and worker; specifically, Rerum Novarum never uses the words “minimum wage”, and never uses “enforce”, and in fact recommends whenever possible to avoid statist intervention, as I have said, the Golden Calf of neo socialists who like a crushing centralized authority, which is essentially Leninism.
Obviously, intervention should be employed only “when necessary”! This is true of all interventions, not just that of States. You would expect the Pope to call for unnecessary things?
Of course, what Leo and the following popes have called for to reduce the need for state interventions are unions and trade associations to help workers better achieve justice through bargaining. You oppose those means as well, and at any rate they have proven inadequate or unavailable for millions of workers.
As for the wage terminology, the question is if state-enforced minimum wages result in actual wages being more, or less, aligned with justice. Leo is concerned with the approach to “just wages”, and so am I. If minimum wages are a means to achieve justice, then they should be supported.
I hold that the evidence is simple: $7 is inadequate to raise a family, therefore it is unjust. The only reason businesses object to the minimum wage is because it increases actual wages. Therefore the minimum wage increase will move actual wages nearer to the just wage by the amount of that increase.
At http://www.tedkennedy.org, the authorized bio and website for the late Liar, er. LION of the Senate it states: “Senator Kennedy was the leading Congressional proponent of a fair minimum wage, which was increased 16 times during his nearly half century of Senate service. While serving as Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Senator Kennedy’s efforts culminated in 2007 with the first increase in the federal minimum wage in a decade. Thirteen million American workers, including the parents of more than six million children, benefitted from the raise, which increased the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour in three phases. ” That is OK, Our Fellow Uninformed Catholic, you are not aware of Ted Kennedy’s history trying to make a minimum wage support a family of 4, which it can never do (and completely in contradiction to Rerum Novarum, where Leo XIII is talking about a “just wage” (never uses the phrase “minimum wage”),
is defined as “those ” that ..ought not to be insufficient to support a frugal and well-behaved wage-earner.” (n. 45).
So what? What does Kennedy’s involvement have anything at all to do with whether the minimum wage is a good thing or not. And please stop insulting me. Let’s have a respectful conversation about facts, and not call each other names.
Fair-minded readers can ask themselves how, except by law enforcement, the “sanction and protection” of the State is to be achieved?
My problem with the minimum wage is that every time it goes up, so does everything else. It seems to be a no win situation. I wonder how long it will take before we need a cart load of dollar bills to buy a loaf of bread. Hyperbole, of course, but the message should be clear. What goes up must come down. Eventually something has to give.
Good intentions versus effect from the one and only (St.) Milton Friedman:
and again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6e8Pa6-IZU
and two of his devoted disciples: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4Ubp7U9Dq4
The application of Sainthood to the very non-Catholic Milton Friedman, and the embrace of his teaching authority over that of the popes is unfortunately indicative of the theological confusion suffered by Catholics who join Lenin, Keynes, Friedman, Hayek and others, at the altar of materialism.