May 16, 2021

Whose Money Is It Anyway?

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About two weeks ago, President Obama signed his first bill into law.  That bill had to deal with a woman that wasn’t paid the same rate as those around her and she sued for discrimination.  She found out, secretly, that she was getting paid less, and now, President Obama says she can sue and get some compensation.

What I find interesting is that the Bible has something exactly dealing with this circumstance.  In Matthew 20 Jesus tells a parable about a householder that goes out and hires people to work in his vineyard.  He does it at different times during the day—needing more people throughout.

When it’s time to get paid, the following thing happens:

And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.

But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.

Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?

That last verse is the key.  The employer made a deal with the workers for a certain pay.  They all had contracts and they all agreed to it.  And the householder’s question is the employer’s question—why do you deserve more money when you agreed to the amount that you were hired for?

Change the people in this story to be of different sex, religion, race, etc.—it doesn’t matter.  If you make a deal with someone to be employed for a certain amount, you don’t deserve more than that simply because someone else made more.  You can lobby to get more while you’re there, but we should not be enabling envy.

It’s just wrong.

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22 thoughts on “Whose Money Is It Anyway?

  1. Have to agree with you on this one. People that don’t have enough sense to demand what they want while on the job shouldn’t be able to sue for it later. You agree to a contract, you keep your end of it. If you don’t like it, you can always quit.

  2. So here’s another scenario for you. The three of you are hired at a compnay at roughly the same time, and roughly the same salary. About five years later, you realize that you’re being paid 20% less than the atheists in your company who do the same job, have the same qualifications, some of which were hired well after you.

    Your boss says, “Well that’s the salary you agreed to. You can always quit.” You would all just leave after five years and go somewhere else? I find that very hard to believe.

    Musicguys last blog post..Happy Darwin Day!

    1. Well, you’re actually comparing apples to oranges a little. The law Pres. Obama passed said that you can go back and sue your employer because of past discrimination. Your example talks about something that’s happening currently.

      However you scenario is too simplistic on its face. People get raises, people are hired at higher rates, and every company is in the business to make money– so it will generally pay the least it has to in order to keep you. That’s why, for the most part, in order to get a big raise you have to switch jobs. It’s not pretty, but it’s pretty much a fact in corporate– non-government– work.

      For me, whether I stay or leave a job is not dependent on funds, but where God wants me. I shouldn’t be motivated by jealousy– which is the root of this problem. If I was hired for a wage, and they’re paying me that wage, and I’m content with where I am: I stay. What I’m saying in this post is that I should not reward the sin of jealousy by allowing the government to forcibly take money from someone when I was getting what I agreed to get.

  3. way to skirt the issue.

    atheists getting paid more than you simply because you are a Christian- no bonues, raises, etc, etc. Let’s say you find out about it after 10 years. You’d just let it go because it’s what God wants??

    Musicguys last blog post..Happy Darwin Day!

    1. Not at all, @Musicguy. I prefer not to view people in categories the way that you do. If a boss decided that all people with blond hair get raises or get paid more because he liked blond hair– it’s his money and in my opinion (and the opinion of the passage I quoted above) he’s entirely within his rights.

      That’s the key– it’s the employer’s money. If I see that someone else is getting paid more, I can find a different job, I can negotiate for a pay raise, etc. It’s my freedom and my choice.

      Since I chose to work for the lesser pay, I give up the right to enforce pay raises on my employer. If I had no choice, no opportunity, and was stuck, then I would have a reason to seek restitution. Choice cuts both ways.

  4. “If a boss decided that all people with blond hair get raises or get paid more because he liked blond hair– it’s his money and in my opinion (and the opinion of the passage I quoted above) he’s entirely within his rights.”

    And millions of Americans breathe a sigh of relief that their livlihoods aren’t in your hands.

    “If I had no choice, no opportunity, and was stuck, then I would have a reason to seek restitution.”

    In the woman’s case, she was stuck. She complained to management, was forcible transferred, so she chose to retire. It’s a shame that she’ll never be able to sue for what is rightfully hers.

    Musicguys last blog post..Happy Darwin Day!

    1. I never said what my criteria would be for hiring– a distortion on your part.

      And the lady in question was not stuck– another distortion on your part. She did not have to work for that company, she did not have to work at that place, and she could also choose another occupation. In fact, at the end, she chose to retire. In all these cases she made decisions or had options available to her. In opinion, she had no right to sue, and she should have exercised one of her options rather than feeding her greed and jealousy. Sadly, she has had more damage done to her by people believing they are helping than those that would actually open up her eyes to the reality of the situation.

  5. “In opinion, she had no right to sue, and she should have exercised one of her options rather than feeding her greed and jealousy.”

    Sigh. You see greed and jealousy, I see a woman who stood up for fairness and equality in the face of abject discrimination. After the SCOTUS threw out her judgement, she continued to speak out even though it was no longer possible for her to “feed her greed and jealousy.” She was working hard to prevent other women from suffering the same injustice. I find that admirable.

    The reality of the situation is that the company chose to pay her thousands of dollars less than her male coworkers simply because she was a woman! There is no excuse for that.

    As I said, millions are relieved that you aren’t making human resource policies in America.

    Musicguys last blog post..Happy Darwin Day!

    1. The woman worked how long at her job without even knowing that she was not being paid how much her counterparts were being paid? From what I heard, she found out because a colleague broke code and slipped her a note telling her how much she was being paid versus the others. She had worked all that time without even knowing! So, was she unfairly paid for her skills? She didn’t think so until she saw what others were being paid– that’s jealousy.

      At my previous job, I was paid far under market value compared to people that worked the same amount of time. When I approached my boss stating the case, there “wasn’t money available.” It wasn’t until I tried to get a job elsewhere that I got equitable pay. This is how it works. You get paid the least a company can get away with so they can maximize profits. It’s a truth of the business world– it’s sad, but it’s true.

      The woman chose to retire– she could have chosen to work elsewhere. Instead, she chose to make a case out of it, and we’ll end up paying for this woman’s choices.

      It all comes down to personal responsibility. She had the choices all along. She chose to work for the pay she agreed with. She chose to force the issue with her employer. She chose to take the retirement package. She chose to file the suit. Another set of choices would have had this situation resolved and we wouldn’t be discussing this. But why should I (through the government) pay for this woman’s bad choices. Why should the employer have to pay someone more than what they agreed to pay?

      You haven’t made a compelling argument that this woman should have been paid more– or why the employer should be forced to pay anyone more. Just because you’re a woman doesn’t entitle you to more pay. Women who claim to be arguing for equal rights should stop arguing for special ones.

  6. “Women who claim to be arguing for equal rights should stop arguing for special ones.”

    Seriously??? That doesn’t even make grammatical sense. EQUAL rights are not SPECIAL rights! The term “equal” says it all.

    Yes, it is about personal responsibility. Her employer should have been responsible enough to pay her a fair salary EQUAL to that of her male co-workers. If there were differences in job performance, experience, etc, this would be a different story (however, in the trial, that was shown not to be the case). She was being paid less only because she was a female. I can’t understand how you can defend such blatant, arrogant discrimination.

    Actually, your pro-discrimination stance makes it quite convenient by making it easier to fire Christians who refuse to perform certain job related tasks under that moral waiver nonsense.

    Musicguys last blog post..Happy Darwin Day!

    1. I’m sorry you have so poor a grasp of the English language. Equal rights would mean that no one would be treated specially. This woman is looking for special rights– ie. She believe she should be paid as much as her coworkers because she’s a woman. She believes she has the right to sue her company because she didn’t get paid as much as her male counterparts– that she is owed money even though she signed the contract and had a choice. It’s the employer’s money, his rights, and she agreed to the rules. I don’t know why you have such a hard time with this simple logic.

      Perhaps, instead of arguing what you think I’m saying, you should actually read what I’m saying and stick to the arguments. You continue to attempt to rephrase my statements to fit your argument, but you’re only creating a strawman with which to make yourself upset. I say “an employer that enters an agreement with an employee for a certain pay (regardless of sex, creed, religion, etc.) is only obligated to pay what they agreed to.” If someone else is paid more– so what? That’s equal treatment. Expecting to be paid as much as the people around you is a special privilege most people don’t have. And most times it’s cultural taboo to ask people around what they’re making. I have no idea how much the people around me are paid, and I like it that way.

      And if a Christian finds themselves in a situation where they have to choose between violating their conscience or finding another job, I hope they’ll find a different job.

  7. “If someone else is paid more– so what? That’s equal treatment.”

    Absolutely! Provided that they have extra qualifications, experience, performance evaluations, etc. If the two people are in a dead heat, and one is paid less SOLEY because of her sex that is an unacceptable situation. That is not equal. Rather it’s unequitable, illegal discrimination.

    “Expecting to be paid as much as the people around you is a special privilege most people don’t have.”

    It should not be, and in most cases is not, a privilege for women to be paid the same as their male counterparts. Companies that decide to set up different pay scales for women will now be held accountable. That’s good news.

    Musicguys last blog post..Happy Darwin Day!

    1. Again, if I walk into a review with my boss I don’t walk into it with all my peers. If my boss and I agree on my raise (or lack of one) then it’s between him and I. It’s not between him, I and the whole group. The boss is the one with the money– it’s his– and he’s also the one that makes the decision who to pay what. If I don’t like what he’s offering, I don’t accept it. If I feel I’m not being paid enough, I find a different job. There’s no reason that I wait in that job for years on end, retire, then decide I wasn’t getting paid enough so I sue. It’s ridiculous– regardless of the reason.

      Do I think there should be equal pay for equal work, sure I do. But I also believe in employer’s rights to decide what they will do with their money. You, on the other hand, believe some really sad things:
      That it’s not the employer’s money
      That people are entitled to portions of money simply because they’re female.
      That somehow a woman is unable to make good decisions– to leave a job or be able to negotiate higher pay– and therefore the government needs to protect her and punish that big, bad, mean, nasty employer.
      That I bear the brunt of someone’s foolish mistake in the amount of tax dollars to litigate the judgment and the higher costs of goods because of rewards.
      That everyone should know what everyone else makes, and that performance reviews should be reviewed by the government (kinda like arbitration in baseball).

      Or, to boil it down, I believe in liberty, you believe in a government nanny state.

  8. You only believe in liberty if it happens to coincide with your very narrow-minded, black or white, biblical perspective of things. Whether it’s equal pay for equal work, abortion, gay marriage, or a myriad of other issues, anything else is considered: sad, special, an over-reach of the government, or greedy.

    Again, thankfully, you’re not making the laws or the human resource decisions!

    Musicguys last blog post..Happy Darwin Day!

    1. Again with the strawman argument– this gets very tiresome Musicguy.

      I said I believe in equal pay for equal work.
      I do not believe people have the right to kill other people, regardless of age, race, sex, location, or size.
      I do not support gay marriage by definition– it’s not possible until the term “marriage” is redefined.

      But I do believe in freedom. Freedom for you to say what you want, to contribute to what you want, to get a job where you want, and leave it whenever you want. I’m not the one taking your money and giving it to causes you don’t believe in, and telling you want to think. I’m not calling you names and calling you narrow minded.

      We’ve been here before, with the photographers that wanted to choose to service certain clients. I’m the one that’s arguing for freedom, you’re the one that’s arguing that people should be forced to do something that they do not believe in, don’t support, and don’t want to do.

      Simply put, you want to use the tool of government to force people to believe like you and I want people to be able to believe and do what they want. I choose to use persuasion and argument to attempt to convince people, you want to use government to force people to behave only like you want them to.

      It’s that simple.

  9. “Simply put, you want to use the tool of government to force people to believe like you and I want people to be able to believe and do what they want. I choose to use persuasion and argument to attempt to convince people, you want to use government to force people to behave only like you want them to.”

    Min, if we always allowed people to do what they wanted, women and blacks wouldn’t be able to vote, whites wouldn’t be able to marry blacks, and southern schools would still be segregated (just to name a few cases). Sometimes, laws or judicial rulings are needed to push things along. I have no problem with the government or courts being used to enact equality for all.

    Musicguys last blog post..Happy Darwin Day!

    1. There’s a whole big difference between a national attitude and a single instance. Again, it goes back to what I said– when there are no options, then the government should step in. It wasn’t the case that some blacks or some women could vote and others could not. None of them could vote.

      If I accepted your logic, then I’d have to demand that all women vote, or that all blacks would vote. That’s absurd.

      The point of this nation was that we were to have liberty– that means the ability to have self determination. Things that get in the way of liberty and choice should be removed, but things that take away that liberty should also be removed.

      In this case, you only see one side of this argument, and that’s preventing you from being unbiased and seeing the entire situation.

      And Armen makes a good point– there are factors in pay raises (whether it happened in this situation or not) where some people are more adamant about getting a pay raise, or more persuasive than others. What you suggest about how people should get paid is totally unenforceable and subject to the whim of the judge or whomever is determining the case.

  10. It certainly isn’t the case that monetary compensation should automatically be raised when others get increased compensation. It does sometimes work when individuals use comparisons to bolster their argument about their own pay increase. There is always the issue of whether something is wrong versus whether it is gotten away with by some.

  11. I’m way behind the curve here but I really think you were spot on with this post!

    Good stuff. Equity means we start from the same place not that we cross the finish line at the same time. there are may things we don’t know about this case and it’s more than a little bit Marxist to suggest everyone deserves the same pay. The state should stay out of private contracts. Period. Full stop.

    Perry Cs last blog post..No Shampoo oops

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