Tag Archives: living wage

Franklin D. Roosevelt Supported the Unalienable Right to a Living Wage

U.S. Presidential PortraitsFranklin D. Roosevelt made the leap, incorrectly I believe, that Constitutionally derived rights contained in the Bill of Rights were unalienable rather than manmade. Unalienable rights are not derived by men, but can only be stewarded by him..

Nonetheless, he correctly enumerated, once again in my opinion, additional unalienable rights in his speech to Congress in 1944 of a second Bill of Rights that should be established for the people. He said:

“In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all—regardless of station, race, or creed.
Among these are:

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education.

All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.

America’s own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for all our citizens.

For unless there is security here at home there cannot be lasting peace in the world.”

Now some, knowing what transpired under FDR, would say this list of rights is somehow socialist or even communist. Far from it…

My priorities set about to provide for these same unalienable rights and I am neither socialist or communist. I see the twists and pulls from both the right and left extremes that attempt to prevent these rights of man. FDR’s Second Bill of Rights demonstrates just how much America has gone astray.

If God is real, has created Earth and placed man on it, then as all the major religions suggest, He created man and Earth for communion with him. Then unalienable rights were given to man by God that cannot be taken away, even from the individual himself, for they are rights that God gives to man to use only as a steward of these rights, in that these rights enable man to commune with God.

All these rights rest on the big “IF” God is real. If he is, then we act out in antiauthoritarian ways when we pass laws that diminish man’s ability to commune with God. Life, for instance, is an unalienable right. Without it, we cannot commune. Liberty is as well for God suggests we are his slave only. Logic would suggest that God then placed man with the ability to sustain life through his toils and that anyone who would step in the way of that contract with man would be acting in antiauthoritarian ways against God.

With this as a basis, one can peruse FDR’s Second Bill of Rights to examine how each supports communion with God, and how interference with these rights attempts to thwart man’s communion. One might argue that since man finds a way to commune whether he has the exercise of these rights taken from him or not, that they are not unalienable. However, just because God can commune even through the greatest of man’s interference in the rights of others, it does not mean that interference isn’t desecrating those rights.

So if God is real and if communing with God is man’s greatest purpose on Earth, then a nation should create the greatest opportunity for unalienable rights to exist. The Declaration stated “that among these” meaning it did not enumerate all unalienable rights. FDR enumerated more of these rights. America has moved far away from protection of these rights. And, moving toward them is our greatest priority.

Among these rights is the right to a living wage. A system wide approach to correcting the failings of government can not only shrink antiauthoritarian policies that cost us all so much, it can also produce life, liberty and a more viable path toward the pursuit of happiness.

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Filed under American Governance, American Politics, Full Employment, social trajectory

Divine Law Suggests Technology Cannot Obsolete Labor, Only Direct It

industry_hightechSome say that the age of capital has arrived and that technology has made the labor of the high school drop out obsolete. It is this argument then that supports the idea that uneducated laborers should be paid a wage that does not sustain life. Yet the vast majority of the world does not exceed this poorly educated standard of learning. Are we saying then that the majority of the world should not exist? The creation of computers, while making the world vastly more productive, has not yet made mankind extinct.

The ability of a country to lift its people through education determines its ability to compete on the economic frontier of the world. The fact that only 4% of Detroit’s eighth graders can pass basic knowledge tests in math is an indicator of the abysmal condition of America’s system of preparation for competition on that economic frontier.

Yet, whether or not we are adequately preparing our nation for the leading edge of national production, we still are producing more humans. These humans have value, a value that is economically determined by our ability to educationally prepare them, but that has value nonetheless.

America continues to replace human capital with machinery and computers to compete with other parts of the world that still uses human capital at a much lower price. America has seen fit to add $15 per hour equivalent through regulation and set a minimum wage of $7.25. With our artificial barrier of $22.25 in a world with a median income of less than a dollar, technology must prevail.

Yet those are artificial barriers we set for ourselves that drive labor decisions in America. Therefore, we are content to give on top of those barriers an additional equivalent of $13 per hour to every citizen that we keep sidelined and unemployed. It is our artificial barriers that attempt to create obsolescence. However, even if we removed the barriers and reformed our abhorrent educational system as we should, America would still have a segment of our population unable to rise to the levels of knowledge required to compete for those jobs that are left with our $22.25 barrier.

Are we then divinely just in letting American labor sit idle while millions provide similarly educated labor in other countries to supply us our goods?

There is strength in Biblical verses about work. Several contain the context that men must work to eat. For instance:

1. Thessalonians 3:10

“For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.”

Now if the Bible says if anyone is unwilling to work let him not eat, then if follows that if they are willing to work then they should eat. The laborer is not the owner of the work. The master of the work is the capitalist that has provided for the business owner.

1. Timothy 5:8 states:

“But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

How could God allow the servant of a master’s work to become an unbeliever and deny his faith because he cannot provide for his relatives simply because the master of the work does not provide a living wage? If God commands a man to work and to provide from that work for his family less he be deemed and unbeliever condemned to Hell, then God must want for this man to earn a living through honest work.

Ephesians 4:28 says:

“Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.”

Yet, we turn our backs on our failing schools, condemning millions to a life unprepared for honest work. We then turn them to the streets where high school drop outs and failed students cannot earn a living wage, and we force them into making a poor choice between public handouts and lives of crime.

The idea that a man can condemn another to work for wages beneath his ability to sustain life has been tread out through the ages and always ends in fallen governments and revolution. The Arab Spring happened because the world’s economic implosion brought food prices beyond the reach of North Africans. Just because men can lower wages below livability does not mean that God supports their power.

For the scripture of 1 Timothy 5:18 says,

“You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.”

The Bible is replete with verses that support the concept of work equating to a living wage. It certainly does not state that the laborer will become wealthy from his toil. Yet, it does support the idea that man should be provided through his toil his needs so that he may come to God in solitude with good prayer.

If this is so, then our leaders are called to come together to determine how all can earn a living wage through a community’s toil.

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Divine Law Calls for Full Employment with Living Wages

man-praying-knees
Balance of moderation is what is required yet the world’s system of governance drives us toward imbalance. It seems that moderation is not a natural state of governance, that man drifts toward either extreme. On the one hand, we have state sponsored religion that strives for moral imperatives yet enforces them through state regulation. On the other, we have separation of church and state that suggests natural law is a moral substitute for divine law, and yet natural law in the absence of divinity degenerates to survival of the fittest. It is toward one of these extremes or the other that mankind seems to find itself in tortured equilibrium.

Neither extreme provides the moderation necessary for a nation to prosper. In progressing, or regressing as it were, from one extreme to the other, a nation reaches its peak and then degrades over time into obscurity. Finding that optimum balance in the middle is what modern nations strive for but seldom obtain.

In America’s beginnings, a founding group of men, many of whom were Deists, sought to find a moderately balanced starting point that separated church and state but that maintained religiously derived principles in its laws. Yet these same religiously derived laws retained bigoted principles of slavery that were incorporated in the nation’s founding documents. Those principles had been hardened into centuries of state sponsored religious doctrine.

Over two hundred years, principles of separation of Church and State have progressed in America’s doctrine and laws, yet in so doing, they have also allowed the progression of the natural law of survival of the fittest, for they go hand in hand.Natural law does not allow for living wages for all men. Natural law does not allow for the raising up of community. If balance to a nation is to be restored, divine principles might be required, even while maintaining separation of the state.

The divine principle that must be adhered to is that of man’s ability to commune with God. If that were a true principle, then no law could be created that caused a loss of communion. If laws then were created that caused man not to have a living wage, that caused strife in his ability to provide the basic necessities of life sustenance, that in turn distract his communion, then these laws would necessarily be put down. Communion then is the driver for rights of man, and a living wage becomes man’s right. With this right, full employment changes from a fluffy goal not adhered to by our politicians, to a high priority of the nation. This is as it should be.

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