Active RNS subscribers and members can view this content at the RNS Archives website.

(RNS) By using the power of his pen to lift the minimum wage for federally contracted workers, President Obama is affirming the dignity and worth of all working people.



    You said, “skyrocketing income inequality is the most important economic, political and moral issue confronting our nation.”

    I completely disagree that this is a moral issue. It isn’t.
    Income inequality is a mortal threat to our economy – a clear and present DANGER.

    The USA will have no future unless it is corrected.
    To call it a moral issue is to call upon piety and righteousness – and that is always a disaster.

    Who was more ‘moral’ than Ronald Reagan when he crowed about wasteful welfare queens?
    Who was more ‘moral’ than George Bush when he advocated for the ‘job providers’?

    Today Fox News is considered the ‘moral’ arbiter! Ridiculous as this sounds.
    Why? It examines ‘morals’ endlessly.

    Enough with the sermons on morality.
    Economic equality is about justice, democracy and survival of the middle class. Not ‘morality’.

  2. This is not an issue of minimum wage it is an issue of constitutionality. The poor sister would probably oppose if the President was doing the same to get things enacted that went against her and Pope Francis will like contraceptives, abortions, euthanasia, etc. The President is opening the door in a way that it has never been open before to abuse and the destruction of balance between the 3 powers.

  3. This is only a constitutional issue to people who make ignorant knee jerk 10th amendment arguments. Federal workers are subject to administrative law, ie law produced by the Executive Branch. Executive Orders have always been a key way for a president to act on subjects they are not answerable to the other branches.

    You are being ridiculous.

  4. I thought the government was not in the legislating morality business, or at least that’s what they say with other issues(like abortion). Just goes to show how hard it is to be morally neutral since the one with the power always gets to decide which morality to enforce.

    • So you support grinding poverty and turning a blind eye to it?

      You are saying government can’t act with moral convictions?

      They should act immorally?

      “Legislating morality” to people who are make honest arguments means using the law to regulate personal behavior and extol blatantly sectarian ideas. Raising a minimum wage hardly qualifies.

      • Come on. I said nothing here that indicates I support poverty. The exact opposite is true and I agree with both the decision and the moral argument in this issue. With an issue such as poverty, a moral argument usually does not raise too much opposition, but with other social and governmental issues such as abortion, the raising of a moral position tends to bring out more conflict over imposing one persons morals over another’s. My larger point was who has the moral authority and who gets to decide and enforce such morals? The government cannot escape the moral position because it has the power to enforce, so how and when does a government develop its moral base from which it must operate and what will it do in a pluralistic society when everyone has different morals? Even a governments morality comes from some basis, some history and some sense of right and wrong.

        • Who said moral positions require an outside authority?
          The government certainly has no business acting as one. Neither does anyone else. But that does not mean it is incapable of making decisions which are moral.

          I hesitate attaching the term moral to anything done in government. Government acts according to interests, necessities and abilities. Morality almost never comes into play in such things. Once in a while those interests align to produce something which is good in of itself. Its rare, but not impossible. Sometimes doing the right thing and doing what is in your interests coincide.

          • Playing the morality card brings added weight and purpose and supports his authority to make such a decision. When people appeal to a moral code, they are appealing to an authority presumably based on something, be that religion, history, tradition or just plain old personal opinion. I appreciate that governments act according to interests and necessities, but there will be issues and areas which will have a basis in values, morality and what is ‘good.’ Those types of decisions will be made by the people who make up the government based on some deeper underlying convictions and morals they hold as individuals. So, I am not opposed to a government using the word moral when they enact laws, but I am always a bit wary because the morals of those who make up our government change, and that creates conflict in society. Inevitably, those who do not hold to that same moral code or change accordingly will be labeled extremists, backwards, fundamentalists or worse. There is a lot of this going on right now, but that has probably always been the case in a society that is undergoing a lot of rapid change.