When California passed the $15 minimum wage, a good friend of mine called me very upset. He is a special needs teacher and at the time his job was to help those kids transition from high school to “real life.” Why was he upset? Simple really, he knew that none of the employment he was able to obtain for his charges would be available to them at $15/hr – he had already heard from some of the employers. At that wage they simply could not afford people who would work a bit slower and require more supervision. $15/hour simply set the productivity bar higher than a special needs person could meet.
Last week, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced a proposal to eliminate the city’s use of special certificates that allow companies to pay wages below the city’s $15 minimum wage. A city council vote is expected before the end of this year.
Who is affected by these certificates? Murray answers: “The point of our historic $15 minimum wage law was to build universal equality in Seattle. A loophole allowing subminimum wages for disabled workers has undermined that goal.”
As Thomas Parker, the author of The Federalist piece points out, “For the supposedly pro-science political left, refusing to recognize that persons with disabilities are already unequal is a refusal to accept reality. ” That is very true, but there is something deeper at play here – this is a conviction in ideology so thorough-going that it allows on to believe they can change reality simply by willing it so.
Further, this has some pretty ugly consequences beyond the simply economic. Again, turning to Parker:
…but this would erase the societal benefits of them accommodating workers with disabilities. Employees with disabilities get a chance to make an impact in the world and build relationships while receiving a supplement to their family’s income. The rest of us get to interact with people who may be different from us, potentially raising awareness about certain disabilities and hopefully eliminating negative stereotypes that sometimes exist.
My grocery store employs many such people as baggers, cart fetchers and price checkers. Some of them have become friends. At some point this policy moves from ill-advised and silly to just flat-out wrong. Is this policy worth harming friendships over? The irreligious Left is so fond of telling people of deeply held religious conviction, such as myself, that we are wrong because our faith tells us that some behavior is wrong and we want to encourage people to behave otherwise and thus we make those people feel unloved and undesirable. Can somebody explain to me how this policy is any different? Moreover, the disabled people I know did not chose to be disabled but isn’t behavior a choice by definition?
Religion, at least the good ones, have built in checks and balances. My Christian faith calls me to “consider the other as more important than myself.” Thus my faith in God demands of me that I not push it to a point where I create harm. This liberal mindset has no check or balance and here is concrete evidence of that fact – This mayor considers his devotion to “equality” as more important than the income or relationships of people that are disabled.
Either that, or this mayor thinks economic equality is the only equality that matters and I do not even want to pursue that train of thought.
I realize this may appear a small stakes issue when North Korean nukes could render it all moot in a matter of minutes, but in reality it is not. It is a matter of outlook, worldview, ideology, religious conviction, whatever you want to call it, that spells the difference between those nukes getting launched or not. Sharply contrasted here are the viewpoints that would launch in pursuit of some idealistic goal and viewpoints that would not.
So where do you stand on the minimum wage issue now?