Skills Matter

Controversy erupted Tuesday over a comment made by economist Art Laffer regarding hourly wages.

Asked by Fox News anchor Sandra Smith if the minimum wage should rise, Laffer replied that many minimum wage workers “aren’t worth $15.” Some people latched onto the statement as though it was about a person’s intrinsic worth, rather than the value of their skills and attributes in a labor market.

This conflation of work value and human value might well be explained by the increased secularization of our society. As an Episcopalian, I believe that every person has the same value, and that that value is infinite. Every human is made in the image of God, and no one is inherently better than anyone else.

I also understand that, while we may all have the same intrinsic worth, workers who don’t show up on time, don’t show up at all, don’t have a good attitude, don’t develop skills or don’t follow directions will have a lower value in the job market than those who do. Also, experience often brings with it better skills and higher pay. Minimum wage should be the starting point for a career — not an ending point.

If you get to work early,

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