Judaism has no position on a minimum wage, but most Jews in America are on the left and so they support a strong central government and higher minimum wage.
The majority of Jews support increasing the minimum wage to $15. If asked why, they respond that a person cannot support a family on the current minimum wage, that it is matter of social justice and the Jewish obligation of tikkun olam (repairing the world).
I have no doubt that most of these Jews and the non-Jews who support the $15 minimum wage are sincere in their beliefs.
But sincerity is meaningless when you are wrong. The $15 minimum wage will hurt people, not help them, and it will do economic and social damage to California and New York, the two states that have thus far passed this minimum wage law.
In fact, the governor of California, Jerry Brown, actually admitted as much — on the record — at least twice.
In January, the Sacramento Business Journal reported that Brown said: “Raise the minimum wage too much, and you put a lot of poor people out of work. There won’t be a lot of jobs.”
And then again this month, the Sacramento Bee reported:
“Brown, traveling to the state’s largest media market to sign the landmark bill, remained hesitant about the economic effect of raising the minimum wage, saying, ‘Economically, minimum wages may not make sense’ [italics added]. But he said work is ‘not just an economic equation,’ calling labor ‘part of living in a moral community.’ ”
But if the minimum wage hike doesn’t make economic sense, it cannot make moral sense. The whole point of the minimum wage increase is to improve people’s economic condition. If it doesn’t, it isn’t moral. When “you put a lot of poor people out of work,” that’s immoral.
Even The New York Times editorialized how disastrous the minimum wage is. It ran the following headline on an editorial:
“The Right Minimum Wage: $0.00.”
The editorial went on to explain, “There’s a virtual consensus among economists that the minimum wage is an idea whose time has passed.”
But that was in 1987 — when some liberals still sat on The New York Times editorial board. Today, The New York Times is edited by leftists who support the higher minimum wage, not by liberals.
There is a huge difference between liberals and leftists. When deciding what political, social, and economic positions to take, liberals ask, “What does good?” Leftists ask, “What feels good?”
It feels good and moral to raise the minimum wage to $15; and feeling good and moral is a core impulse among progressives.
But the $15 minimum wage isn’t moral. It’s immoral. When the government raises the minimum wage, it destroys jobs and creates inflation — both of which hurt the poor the most.
Here’s one simple proof: If raising the minimum wage is good for workers and good for the economy, why not raise it to $20 an hour, or $30 or $50? Whatever answer you give applies equally to a $15 minimum wage.