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  • Writer's pictureKrista Bontrager

The Bible & the Minimum Wage Debate

Guest: Christian economist, Jeffery Degner; National Minimum Wage and Universal Basic Income

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Segment #1: Interview with Jeffrey Degner

Coming at you live from Auntie Alisa's basement studio (akak Alisa Childers)!

Krista and Monique have been on the road, speaking and teaching on Biblical unity.

Tonight we got to hear from Jeffrey Degner, Assistant Professor of Economics at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Jeffrey helped us understand the Biblical values associated with work, employer/employee relationships, wages, and much more.

These are some of the important issues we discussed:

Why do people need to learn more about economics?

As Christians, we need to be truth-tellers! (For example, understanding historical events, such as the fall of the Berlin Wall, which Jeffrey describes as an inevitable outcome of the impossibility of Socialism).

The great economic thinker, Ludwig von Mises said, "Economics is the philosophy about human life in action." Furthermore, in 1 Corinthians 10, Paul says we need to destroy every lofty argument that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, which includes destructive ideologies such as Socialism.

What about the push toward a national minimum wage law? What is the historic start of minimum wage laws?

Minimum wage was introduced as a form of labor market discrimination; it started at the state level in Massachusetts in 1912. State leaders deliberately applied minimum wage laws to women and young workers, which would price them out of the labor force; this was eventually struck down as unconstitutional and discriminatory.

Bottom line: The minimum wage laws that are put in place that are supposed to helping minorities are actually working against minorities.

What are the best arguments for minimum wage laws?

The best case scenario is that it actually doesn't create any unemployment. Also, it brings in a level of compassion regarding the issue of establishing a living wage.

What are some concerns about establishing a national minimum wage?

It assumes the whole country is homogenous. It assumes the incomes, the needs, and the standards of living are the same everywhere.

What about people who say minimum wage laws should fall under the banner of love for neighbor? Shouldn't Christians care about loving our neighbor...making sure people can eat, making sure people have a place to live...?

Christian charity takes place on the church level. In Scripture, we are not told to go and appeal to the government and ask them to seize the wealth of business owners and then force them to take care of others. Instead, it is a call for generosity as individuals and churches.

To the Christian Entrepreneur: In both the Old and New Testament, there is a call to have a voluntary and mutually understood labor contract. Giving people their just due, in terms of employment and wages.

Why $15 an hour? Why is that the magic number for the national minimum wage? It sounds good: "Fight for $15!"

It's an educated guess, but mainly it's arbitrary.

Questions to ask ourselves:

What are our churches doing to help people develop job skills?


Check out the Mises Institute website for more information on Economics

Excellent book for beginners to understand economics: Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt

Connect with the guest


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