Faith Reflection by Father Frank Corbishley

Jeanette Smith - Friday, June 20, 2014
The Federal minimum wage, had it kept current with inflation, would be $10.74.  Instead, the current Federal minimum wage is $7.25.  This means that, in real dollar terms, the Federal minimum wage is worth just two-thirds of what it was worth in the 1970’s.  When this is coupled with the fact that a larger percentage of the American work force earns minimum wage today than in the 1970’s, we see clearly that this country is moving backwards in the living standards of our working people.  Because wage laws do not include a stipulation that the minimum wage be indexed to inflation, every time we have a debate on this issue we are merely fighting to regain some of the ground lost rather than fighting to move ahead. Ethical employers cannot compete against the unscrupulous greedy employers who are more than willing to undercut their competitors on price by keeping wages low.  This is one of many reasons why it is imperative to increase the Federal minimum wage, in order to provide a morally tenable level playing field.  In a country as rich as ours, no one working full time should be earning poverty wages.  As people of faith we should realize that we are judged by how we treat the weakest and most vulnerable members of our society. 

Father Frank J. Corbishley is the Chaplain of St. Bede Chapel at the University of Miami.

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