Pete Buttigieg Taunts God

“Gay” South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg “implied” those who oppose the minimum wage “taunt” the Creator who said in Leviticus 20:13 “If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”

Are those who “oppose” raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour “transgressing” the Scripture and “mocking” the Lord God Almighty?

One might get that impression when Democratic presidential “wannabee” Pete Buttigieg offered his exegesis of Proverbs 14:31“Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.”

“And so-called conservative Christian senators right now in the Senate are blocking a bill to raise the minimum wage, when Scripture says that whoever oppresses the poor taunts their Maker” claimed sinner Buttigieg.

While it is commendable that presidential candidates are “encouraging” voters to think about the intersection between “faith and economics” Pete’s proposal is not near where they converge.

The Old Testament, which Buttigieg cites, primarily defines “oppressing the poor as refusing to pay their wages.”

Deuteronomy 24:14-15 says, “Do not take advantage of a hired worker who is poor and needy, whether that worker is a fellow Israelite or a foreigner residing in one of your towns. Pay them their wages each day before sunset, because they are poor and are counting on it. Otherwise they may cry to the Lord against you, and you will be guilty of sin.

Another form of “oppression” consisted of failing to provide a uniform level of justice in Leviticus 19:13-15: “Do not defraud or rob your neighbor. Do not hold back the wages of a hired worker overnight. Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but fear your God. I am the Lord. Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.”

Rulers were not to “favor” the rich or take “bribes,” nor were they to “show favoritism to a poor person in a lawsuit” according to Exodus 23:3.

The Bible knows of “no minimum wage provision.” And although it is not primarily economic, Jesus’ Parable of the “Laborers in the Vineyard” concludes with the landowner telling workers who are disgruntled over their pay, “Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?“ according to Matthew 20:15.

The rate of “wages and remuneration” deemed “biblical” is not so clear cut that one should begin hurling “anathemas” over it. The “minimum wage” is a prudential issue commended to those who are both “thoughtful and faithful.”

There are at least “four” reasons raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, as Buttigieg advocates, is likely to have “harmful” effects.

First, “It increases unemployment.” The “Raise the Wage Act” will offer a small boost to some in exchange for “depriving” some people of all opportunity. The Congressional Budget Office’s analysis finds that, by 2025, a $15 minimum wage would give the average person, who keeps his job, an extra $50 a month.

The CBO estimates this may reduce the number of people living beneath the U.S. poverty level by 1.3 million. However, this comes as a “steep” cost. It would throw another 1.3 million people, and possibly as many as 3.7 million Americans, “out of work” altogether. This will fall disproportionately on those most in need: “the poor, minorities, the young, and those looking to enter the labor force.”

Second, “It destroys wealth.” Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour will make the nation “poorer” as a whole. The CBO concludes that raising the minimum wage would “cost” the overall U.S. economy a total of $9 billion. Reducing the total amount of “resources” available to society does not aid the “poor and needy.”

Third, “It reduces the long-term earnings of the poor.” A higher minimum wage makes it less likely for workers to “move up” the economic ladder. The CBO report notes in passing: “A higher minimum wage might draw some workers who would otherwise attend school into the labor force. Those potential effects on family income are not accounted for in this analysis.” 

Fourth, “It squanders young people’s personal potential.” Encouraging young people to forgo higher education robs them, and society, of the blessings that flow from reaching their full potential. A 1995 study, which confirmed previous studies, found that increasing “minimum wages lead to a decline in the school enrollment rate and an increase in the proportion of teenagers who are neither employed nor enrolled in school.”

It’s no surprise that higher wages may “stimulate” labor participation. The “Bureau of Labor Statistics” found that the average worker with a high school diploma earns $192 a week, or $9,984 a year, more than someone without a diploma; and someone with a four-year college degree makes $23,972 a year more than a high school graduate.

A high “minimum wage” tantalizes workers in late adolescence with the immediate gratification of what seems to be “good money.” But it locks them into lower “income strata” for life. This is no small issue, since young people are the largest cohort of people affected by the minimum wage: “Nearly 98 percent of people earning the minimum wage are 24 or younger.”

This leads to the greatest “harm done by an excessively high minimum wage.”

To be sure, the rise of those “Neither Employed nor in Education or Training” (NEET) has a detrimental impact on society.“The male retreat from the labor force has exacerbated family breakdown, promoted welfare dependence, and recast ‘disability’ into a viable alternative lifestyle. Among these men the death of work seems to mean also the death of civic engagement, community participation, and voluntary association,” wrote Nicholas Eberstadt of AEI.

But the greatest “victim” of wasted potential is the worker himself or herself. Unlike other losses, the retreat of young people into “idleness” is incalculable. Only the full development of one’s intellectual faculties allows young men and women to become “truly outstanding in their training, ready to undertake weighty responsibilities in society and witness to the faith in the world.”

A minimum wage job usually “serves” as the beginning, rather than the end, of that process. By refusing further development, the person ends a “regret-filled life wondering what might have been.”

Buttigieg told The Washington Post that the nation has the opportunity for “religion to be not so much used as a cudgel but invoked as a way of calling us to a higher value.”

A nation gets no closer to understanding the “Heart of our Maker”, or encouraging human flourishing and civil discourse, by “distorting” the Bible or classifying everyone who “dissents” from the statist economic agenda as “blasphemers.” 

Followers of Jesus are supposed to “help” the poor, not use the government to “oppress” them, using their “faith” to justify their oppression.

Might I suggest that “Mayor Pete” listen to the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:3-5 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

In 2016, Mayor Pete pushed to “raise” South Bend city employee minimum wages to $10.10. He succeeded, and it’s been the same rate since. Now Pete is “declaring” that anything short of $15 an hour “oppresses the poor” in the eyes of the Lord.

Nothing in the Bible “dictates” that Employers pay their employees whatever wage is arbitrarily “chosen” by aspiring politicians eager for “votes.”

The very fact that the arbitrary wages “fluctuate” from place to place and moment to moment “ought” to be a clear sign that it is not a “mandate from heaven.”

If it were, Mayor Pete would have some “explaining” to do to the man upstairs for his “cruel, years-long oppression” of so many City of South Bend employees.

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