A few weeks ago I introduced Seraphic Secret readers to my close friend Curt Biren through his astute article about how the Jewish left perverts the true meaning of Tikkun Olam.
Now, Curt has written another fine and timely article for the Acton Institute about the entwined issues of justice and the minimum wage, using the Torah—written and oral—as his primary lens.
The issue of a higher minimum wage — sometimes referred to as a living wage or a just wage — is back in the news, with a number of local and state governments enacting minimum wage ordinances. In the current election season, it continues to be a contentious issue.
Economists have studied the idea, but they often disagree on its impact. Some can cite statistics that purportedly show that there is no marked decline in employment. Others have data to prove that the imposition of higher minimum wages does reduce employment. The issue may seemingly not be resolved until we have sufficient social science data.
But there’s a deeper question. In mandating higher minimum wages, government is requiring that employers pay their lower-skilled workers more than they might otherwise pay them — and more than the rate at which those workers would be happy to be employed. Is this consistent with our traditional notions of justice?
This question is not a new one. It comes up in ancient Jewish texts — related to property rights, labor law and charity law.
The rest is here.