July 2016: The Risk of Minimum Wage

The 3rd Party

J. William Seymour

Everyone knows about the $15/hour wage issue. Is it fair or is it economically destructive? I suppose it depends on who you ask. For evangelicals, of which I am only nominally one, the issue stands starkly against the idea that all persons are created equal and that all deserve a fair shake. Or do they?

I ordered my food at a Sonic recently and was served by a woman in a sling. She had very little voice. I assumed she had laryngitis. The waitress didn’t challenge my statement, so I assumed I had it right. Well, I came back a few days later (Sonic is one of my favorite places to visit) and she again served me. Her voice was better, but not great, so I mentioned how improved she was. Then I asked what had caused her voice to go out.

“I was attacked a few days ago while sweeping the lot at closing,” came the reply. I was stunned. In fact, the only thing that stunned me more than the statement itself was the fact that it was humbly given. She didn’t ask for sympathy or a handout, though her shoulder was going to be operated on for a severe separation in a few days. It was just a reality for her. And when I asked her why in the world she was still working there, she simply smiled and asked if I needed anything else.

My waitress, and thousands of men and women like her, simply does her job day in and day out, just like you and me. No one questioned my desire for veteran’s benefits as I was getting out of the military. “I had earned them.” Of course I had! But when it comes to the desire for a $15 an hour for flipping burgers (and apparently sweeping Sonic lots), can we put aside the rhetoric and realize these are real folks we’re talking about?

I don’t personally think that either side of the isle can reasonably solve the issue. It’s entirely possible that a third party can’t fix it either. The best bet for all concerned is to help people when they show a desire to help themselves (maybe tutor programs at churches to prepare adults for GED and ACT testing?). And pray…that’s what The Prayer Journal is all about, right? So instead of judging people, maybe say a prayer next time.

Hopefully, my friend will use a very terribly situation to spur her to better herself so that Sonic isn’t the best she can do. In the meantime, I will endeavor to think of people working in that business as real people.

1 comment:

Nate Smith said...

I like your analysis here about minimum wage. So many conservative Christians (who have really just come to irritate me over the years) are against helping other people, especially economically. But they are the first ones to support a major business for its stance against homosexuality or something like that. Anyway, here are my thoughts.

1. Are we really all equal?
I'm not sure if the equality thing is Biblical. The more I look into it, the more I think that we're probably not all equal in the eyes of God. If we have come to know Jesus, we are all equal in the fact that we're covered by the blood and we're going to Heaven, but other than that, equality isn't an issue. In fact, the Bible tells us that some folks will get more of a reward than others. Applied to things like minimum wage, I don't think it creates more equality by paying someone more money. In fact, what will happen is we'll see a major price increase because businesses will know that people are making more money. That's how businesses work. The problem lies not with minimum wage; rather, it's with evil business practices that the good conservative Christians support.

2. Wrong people to fix the problem.
You are probably right that neither Democrats nor Republicans will solve this issue. That's because, like typical politicians, they're bought by business, and so they'll never look at the true causes of the problem. Only the symptoms. Even if we do raise the minimum wage, what will that do for that Sonic employee you talk about? Well, what might happen is that she loses her job because she becomes too expensive for the company to have on the payroll. And, of course, prices will increase, which hurts everyone. Politicians won't solve the problem. They know nothing about the real lives of real people, and very few of them have ever lived that kind of life. If they have, it's been so long ago that they've lost touch with reality.

There were beggars and poor people back when Jesus walked the earth, and that was about 2000 years ago. Obviously, politicians won't solve the problem. That's why it's up to us good Christians to help the poor. I don't know if we're doing that great of a job, either, myself included.