Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Update on Minimum Wage postings

A few days after I posted last time on the seminary "Board of Declaration," a new response came opposing it. I know this new responder personally, and he's arguably one of the most conservative students on campus. Unlike the previous debater, this one was not a "generally sympathetic, but it just won't work" kind of post, but a three-page-piece detailing why "socialist" methods of economic control not only wouldn't work, but why they were a bad thing to even attempt. In particular, he suggested that any raise in the minimum wage would cause inflation. I have chosen not to respond on the Board at this time. While I can point to examples such as the following:
After the last minimum wage increases in 1996-97, the economy boomed with extraordinarily high growth, low inflation, low unemployment and declining poverty rates--until the Federal Reserve purposefully slowed economic growth by raising interest rates, a mistaken course it has since reversed. (emphasis mine)
I am well aware that opponents of minimum wage increases can point to other "facts" and bits of data to make their point as well. This really is a case where one's way of looking at the world affects not only their position, but the way in which facts are used to support that position. At this point, if I were to respond, I know that I'd only be engaging in a battle of throwing data back and forth, and not getting anywhere. Also, I didn't want to be the only person arguing for my position, lest the arguments become more about me and less about raising the minimum wage or finding other ways of helping those who are in poverty.

Thankfully (and perhaps surprisingly!), a few other folks have stepped up in the past few days. Rather than combatting my conservative colleague's data directly, they have articulated various reasons why, as Christians, we have a Biblical imperative to do something to help those less fortunate, rather than just advocating policies that have already been shown to do nothing to help such people, and in fact have in many ways made their plight worse.

My favorite showed up this morning, though. The newest post accuses my conservative colleague, not of having the wrong view, but of purposely writing a satirical piece showing how people can use the Bible to support the most cruel, evil, oppressive (I'm not actually quoting at the moment, but this was the gist) policies imaginable. I'm curious to see how/if my conservative colleague will respond....

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