Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Living Wage, the Family Wage

Stephen Hand is on the ball again...

TCR Note: When an economy is engineered to force both parents into the work force, not only is the emotional and spiritual welfare of the family placed in jeopardy, but the downward pressure on wages becomes very difficult for very many. Such is closer to slavery than liberation. Even in what is perceived to be affluent suburban areas, if one of the working parent gets sick or otherwise loses a job disaster is not far off.

The Popes on Wages: In "Rerum Novarum" (on capital and labor), 1891, Pope Leo XIII wrote: "There is a dictate of nature more imperious and more ancient than any bargain between man and man, that ... remuneration must be enough to support the wage earner in reasonable and frugal comfort."

# In "Quadragesimo Ano" (on reconstructing the social order), 1931, Pope Pius XI wrote: "In the first place, the wage paid to the workingman should be sufficient for the support of himself and his family. ... Social justice demands that reforms be introduced without delay which will guarantee every adult workingman just such a wage."

# In "Pacem in Terris" ("Peace on Earth), 1963, Pope John XXIII wrote: "Furthermore - and this must be especially emphasized - the worker has a right to wages determined by the criteria of justice, and sufficient, therefore, in proportion to available resources, to give the worker and his family a standard of living in keeping with the dignity of the human person."

# In "Laborem Exercens" ("On Human Work"), 1981, Pope John Paul II introduced the term "family wage": "Just remuneration for the work of an adult who is responsible for a family ... what is called a family wage - that is, a single salary given to the head of a family for his work, sufficient for the needs of the family without the spouse having to take up gainful employment outside the home." Putting a dollar figure on the concept of a living wage is where the controversy is centered, Miller said.