Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Distributist version of a minimum wage law

Another in the Papal Economics series, though my review of the book is completed.

There will always be bad corporate actors. Maybe not as bad as this McDonald's CEO but bad all the same. And there will always be entry level jobs, done by people who are at the very bottom of society.

The moral argument for a minimum wage is clear. But is a dollar value minimum wage, in a large country, where cost of living varies greatly is a single minimum wage just?

Also, when thinking about, how do we encourage a living wage instead of a minimum wage, perhaps a better question would be "what is a just wage?". I'd like to steal something from Plato in this. In The Republic, he suggests that a minimum wage should be a percentage of the maximum wage- 10%. But he was dealing with a simpler time, not a time of abundance, but a time of scarcity. So I'd like to suggest that this equation should be used *instead* of a minimum wage- and that it is both impersonal enough to be used by the most impersonal public corporation, yet personal enough that a business based on justice can change it:

The minimum wage should be ((LastYearCEOSalary+LastYearCEOBonus+LastYearCEOExpenseAccount)/2080)*.01). A more just business might adjust that .01 to some higher percentage based on what they feel their people are worth, but that should be the minimum.

The only thing I can't decide is, based on that bloomberg article I linked to first, whether McDonald's should be paying a minimum wage of $42/hr, or a CEO compensation package of $1.716 million. Most likely something in between.

Cross Reference Catechism of the Catholic Church 2426-2436

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