On June 22nd Jewish Community Action brought four testimonies to the floor of the Minneapolis City Council calling for the minimum wage to be raised to $15 an hour. We wanted to share these powerful testimonies with the community as we continue to call for a livible and sustainable wage. Below is JCA Member Deb Moses' testimony.
Good afternoon, my name is Deb Moses, I am a homeowner in the Bancroft neighborhood, I am an active member of Jewish Community Action and the Chair of the Tzedek/Social Justice Committee of Mount Zion Temple. I hold a Doctorate in Public Administration and a Master’s in Public Health. I’m also the COO of an addiction treatment program in Minneapolis. My support of passing a $15.00 minimum wage is clearly not about my personal needs but that of my community/city.
My faith has a deep tradition of social justice. The Religious Action Center of the Reformed Jewish movement brings up several scriptures that command us to speak up for the poor and the needy (proverbs 31:9) and lead them to self-sufficiency. Deuteronomy 25:14-15 states “You shall not abuse a needy and destitute laborer…but you must pay him his wages on the same day, for he is needy and urgently depends on it.” The laborers in our community depend on us to pay them a livable wage.
Taking off my faith hat and putting on my hat of public administration, a livable wage in a capitalistic system must be the cost of doing business. Capitalism cannot operate any other way. We often hear trickle down theories that lead to providing tax breaks to corporations yet never discuss trickle up as lower wage workers increase their buying power in our community. Trickle down is a theory, trickle up is in fact a reality when we invest in lower wage earners.
Whatever gets put into place needs to keep in mind meaningful support for our small and independent businesses. Government in a functioning capitalistic society must be there to support market failure as is done in social service and other non-profitable ventures. The solution must also be easily understood by employees and employers alike without a long lag period between the amendment’s passing and implementation.
It is clearly unjust to know that there are people in our community working long hours that are not able to support themselves or a family. The stress this causes in our communities is beyond measure. Please do the right thing and vote for what is best for all of us.