There has been a lot of recent talk about raising the federal minimum wage, which is currently set at $7.25 an hour. People are split on this issue Some assume that minimum wage is just for high school kids or people that only have themselves to blame for only being able to earn such meager pay. Others think it needs a significant boost.
I’m not going to touch on whether I think we should raise minimum wage or not, but on something I’ve noticed a lot:
Devoutly religious business owners that don’t seem inclined to pay their employees jack shit.
And I’m not talking about REALLY small business owners. If you own a tiny dog grooming business and have two employees, then maybe you can’t afford large pay raises, I don’t know.
But I’ve worked for a number of folks that own successful businesses, and who I would call wealthy. Not Bill Gates rich, but they’re still multimillionaires. The types of people that will pay $45,000 a head to take ten friends on a religious “mission” somewhere on the planet, and who seem to think that being affluent doesn’t contradict their religious faith.
And maybe it doesn’t. I don’t know for sure. There seems to be a lot of cautionary stuff in the Bible about being rich, but I’ll assume The Lord allows a few of his faithful to win at life in a big way financially.
I would probably believe that the religious, successful business owners I’ve encountered were leading a pious life if it wasn’t for the demonstrated frugality I’ve seen when they set the wages for their employees.
Lest anyone think that this is just a case of sour grapes, and I’m bitching about low pay because I don’t make that much – no, I am comfortable enough. Lucky to have the skills I do, and to be able to demand a certain level of pay.
But I’ve seen some of these people. People that have never missed a meal, never gone without in any significant way. I’ve seen them pray before meals, thank God for the blessings in their life, and still bitch like Mr. Burns when it’s suggested that they pay their workers more than $8.00 an hour.
Some of these people live in mansions and never have to choose which bills they pay this week, and which they can (hopefully) push back until another paycheck rolls through. They’ve never suffered the indignities of poverty. They drive nice cars to their nice homes, and take lavish vacations with their well-dressed families. They donate to their churches, and never miss a Sunday sermon.
But they sure as fuck cringe when there’s a rumor of a minimum wage hike, or employer contributions to health care for their employees.
So what’s the deal? This seems very contradictory to me, but in a world where bullshit religious movements like the “Prosperity Gospel” teach that financial success is intimately entwined with spiritual piety, perhaps it’s not that surprising.
I probably wouldn’t care as much if they were just greedy heathens that obviously lusted for material success. Those people are gross, but at least they don’t suffer from a soul-withering hypocrisy at their very core.
But every time I see some hokey creep with four million in his bank pause at a meeting to say a silent prayer, only to find new ways to get more from his employees for less? I want to pop that motherfucker in the mouth and tell him that if there IS a Hell, that he’s heading straight for the fiery abyss for being such an uncharitable cockhead.
I once thought these types of religious fucktards were probably a rarity, but I keep working at companies run by them. I suppose that since they almost all attend churches mostly attended by other rich people no one has ever told them that paying the people that make your business successful as little as possible is contradictory to the spirit of their religion. If they’d just drop the hokey God’s good guy act and be openly greedy then I’d still dislike them, but at least I’d dislike them a little less for their honesty.
I just find a logical and moral disconnect with people that are willing to spend large amounts of money on religious “missions” abroad, but who choose to pay their own employees poorly. Then there are the businesses that are closed on Sunday due to the owners religious convictions. I can almost guarantee that more employees would choose to make a buck or two more an hour than to be closed on Sunday.
I don’t think that there’s a way to buy one’s way into heaven, but treating the individuals who help make you successful a little better could make this world a better place, or at least make their lives appreciably better.