The United States Bishops have made it clear that the minimum wage, as it currently stands, “does not meet the standard for just wages as set out in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.” (http://www.usccb.org/news/2014/14-003.cfm)
Having a preferential option for the poor, as called for in Catholic Social Teaching, means placing human beings at the center of our economic decisions. As Catholics, we believe that all people should receive a just wage for the work they do; raising the minimum wage, then, is an issue of justice. The federal minimum wage has not kept pace with the cost of living, and those subject to a subminimum wage – especially restaurant workers – can struggle even more.
We should be especially concerned in Ohio because a disproportionate percentage of minimum wage workers live in our state, and even though our state minimum wage is higher than the federal minimum wage, it still remains far short of the wage necessary to raise even one child and remain above the poverty line.
While economists and politicians debate over the potential impact of raising the minimum wage, hard working people in our communities continue to struggle to provide the basic needs for their families. This struggle often leads to decisions of desperation such as predatory loans or the need to take on multiple jobs which leads to even less time spent with family.
People of faith must make their voices heard on this debate. Recent polls show that the majority of Americans support a raise in the minimum wage; believers can help exert pressure until all our workers earn a wage that enables them to raise their children (and themselves) out of poverty.