6 comments

  1. “An employee at Walmart or McDonald’s should not have to rely on transfer payments from the government in order to maintain what is barely a subsistence living”

    I agree with respect to the employee himself, but St. John Paul II in Laborem exercens suggests that the employee’s family can be supported through family allowances or grants.

    1. It has been awhile since I read LE, but I thought that passage was more about prudence than principle. That is to say, in a concrete economic system where workers are often unable to support their families without transfer payments, it is prudent to allow such transfer rather than have the family scratch out a living for support. In short, the transfer-payment system that John Paul II references provides a “safety net” for those compelled to live out their lives under an unjust or at least unfair system — but it is not “ideal.”

      The ideal, which Leo XIII and Pius XI point to, is for wages to be set to the point where such a transfer system is not necessary. That is what we ought to strive for, even though present realities make transfer systems necessary lest greater injustices befall the population.

      1. Pity that not much time is spent on understanding the impact of taxation on both behavior and what constitutes a just wage. In 1960, the average American wage-earner kept 90% of his pre-tax wage, now it’s under 65%, the difference taken to provide for post-1960 programs and the full time wages and pensions of the government agents of this wealth transfer. Is that justified? Until somebody on your end of the spectrum starts dealing with the totality of what constitutes a wage pre and post-taxation, you come across as just another shill for forced wealth transfer that itself needs to be justified.

        1. No. No I don’t. You just need to pay better attention to what is written and not assume what I think. If you want to know, ask. But it’s pretty clear, from both this post and other things that I have written, that I am not in favor of wealth transfers through government apparatuses. However, under current conditions, they are necessary, if not a necessary evil.

        2. I didn’t get that at all from Gabe, and personally I would abolish the Federal Reserve and federal income tax immediately, as inherently tyrannical and unconstitutional, before anything else is done. If a living wage is mandated, then most wealth transfers should end overnight (thank God!) since they will no longer be needed to bring people to that living wage. Then, in order to remain competitive, businesses would merely have to re-appropriate their funds, reducing the salaries of those at the top in order to raise the wages of those at the bottom. Seeing as the average corporate CEO made 20 times what his lowest paid employee made in the early 1970s, but today makes 400+ times that, this should not be a problem. And since, generally speaking, only psychopaths are sufficiently lacking in conscience to rise to the top of such organizations, this couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch of people!

          Ultimately, we need to somehow return to a scenario where people are almost invariably their own bosses, as it was before people so foolishly opted to become wage slaves working for somebody else. But so long as we remain stuck with the current bourgeois nightmare, the very least we can do is guarantee that everybody who holds a job makes enough to live on. The whole system is sick, but it is even sicker to stand by and do nothing while this sick system freely exploits the most vulnerable among us.

        3. Did you take into consideration the tax rate of top income earners during that time, ( 1960), and now? Think through your argument after doing so.

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