This is a troubling Tea Party meme, one that claims you’re lucky to get the “minimum” you already have because you ARE “minimum” – in terms of skills, education, motivation and contribution to the workplace. So (in effect) – once you are defined as “minimum” – shut up and don’t complain, and be happy with what little you’re already getting!
But in whose estimation is someone being labelled here as “minimum”? Answer: those who are making the rules – i.e., not those who are being paid a minimum wage! Is that valid?
This meme is also disingenuous: it confuses an outsider’s valuation of the worth of an individual (which is not a valid valuation – would you want me or anyone else to judge your worth as a person?) with the value of the labor they contribute.
Suppose – just suppose – that someone actually is “minimum” as claimed here. Does that mean they aren’t allowed to earn a decent living? Who judges?
This type of controversy goes back at least 1600 years, to the “Donatist Controversy” among early Christian churches in Northern Africa: if a member of the clergy baptizes you, and is then later proved to be “unworthy” in someone’s estimation – does that mean your baptism is invalid, and that your hope of salvation has been lost? Of course not. Besides, suppose you’d died before it was discovered your baptizer was unworthy – that gets messy. So, the sacrament of baptism – or any other sacrament for that matter – has value regardless of the value of the person performing the sacrament, as long as the person receiving the sacrament does so in good faith. This principle can be found in the marriage laws of every state (that I know of) in the US today – your marriage’s validity is never at risk just because the clergyperson who officiated is later judged to be unworthy or fraudulent in some way.
So, the issue is not “who is worth more” as this meme misleadingly claims, but whether a fair day’s work is worth a fair day’s pay.
If you are willing to pay for a product or service, then that service or product has value to you, independent of the worth of the producer – no matter who is judging. Therefore, the person who is producing that service or product deserves to be fairly paid for the work they put into providing that product or service to you. You can argue what (and how much) “fairly paid” means, but the validity of the producer as a person is not part of the conversation, unlike what this meme claims.
In the end, everyone needs to be able to make a decent living – no matter who they are, or else they wind up costing us lots of money and grief in many other ways.
So, why the hell should you “pay more”? (Assuming there actually is a discernible cost to you.) Because you are a human being, just like every one else…
Copyright (c) 2014, Allen Vander Meulen III, all rights reserved. I’m happy to share my writings with you, as long as you are not seeking (or gaining) financial benefit for doing so, and as long as proper credit for my authorship is given. (e.g., via a credit that gives my full name and/or provides a link back to this site – or just email me and ask!)