Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Trying again

After some encouragement from friends of mine after writing this post, I decided to post a response to some of the notes made on my earlier post on the physical seminary "Board of Declaration" (as we call it) a week ago. Here is the text of that response, with hyperlinks incorporated into my source references.
For the record, I don’t generally post in response to anonymous jabs written on top of existing posts. Not only is this a cowardly form of attack, but it is generally forbidden by Board of Declaration guidelines. This is a forum for debate of issues, not insults to one’s intelligence. To the person who suggested I take Economics 101, you do not know me. You do not know how well-versed in Economics theory I am. All you have done is suggest that I must not know what I’m talking about because I suggested a solution that you disagree with. As you would note if you read my article, and some of the supporting links I provided, I am well aware that there is not universal agreement on how to deal with issues of poverty. However, it is neither anything like universally agreed by Economists that raising the minimum wage is a bad thing to do. Likewise, to call this plan “Socialism” (obviously intending this to be an attack) is a vast oversimplification. “Socialism” has to do with advocating “public control of the basic means of production, distribution, and exchange, with the avowed aim of operating for use rather than for profit.” [Source: Webster Illustrated Contemporary Dictionary] While advocating a higher minimum wage is indeed a form of public control of distribution, it is a very limited one, and I do not advocate the public control of production, nor do I suggest that profit is entirely a bad thing. I’m merely suggesting that we work harder toward ensuring that people who work for a living earn enough to make a living.

Although I am grateful to the posters who have likewise written on my previous post in my defense, I would suggest to them that it would be far more helpful if they would post their statements (even if they’re just quick one-liners) on separate sheets of paper, complete with names and dates. This maintains the Board of Declaration guidelines, intended to keep this forum a place where fair and free exchange of ideas may occur. In fact, the only response that has met these guidelines has been [name withheld from the web]’s article. Although I disagree with some of the fundamental assumptions of economic theory that his article uses, he has engaged in the debate process in a very appropriate manner, and I wish to thank him for his efforts.

To briefly respond to a couple of his points, I would agree that it is difficult to suggest raising the minimum wage when so many companies ([the poster] cites several airlines) are going into bankruptcy. However, I would maintain that there is plenty of money to go around, if it were indeed distributed fairly. The average CEO makes over 430 times as much as the average worker. [Source: http://www.faireconomy.org Also, see http://www.orlandosentinel.com, which suggests that the ratio was only 301-to-1 about a year ago] By comparison, the average CEO in Japan makes only about 55 times as much as the average Japanese worker. [Source: http://thinkprogress.org] In fact, even in the US, the ratio has skyrocketed only relatively recently. The Economic Policy Institute of Washington, DC suggests that the ratio only topped 100-to-1 around 1990. [Source: http://www.epinet.org] I do not mean to suggest that CEOs should be paid the same as the average worker. CEOs deserve to be paid for the knowledge and experience which they possess. Such knowledge and experience is valuable and fairly hard to find. However, I expect very few people really want to argue that CEOs are worth 400 times more!

In any event, I’m sure that some people will disagree with my proposed solutions. However, I do not take kindly to having my intelligence, nor my Christian faith, called into question because I advocate for greater care for the poor. My Christian convictions cause me to seek solutions to this issue, and I believe it very important to come up with as intelligent and as practical a means of doing so as possible.

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