16 Tons and bricks without straw: Christianity Today wants to bring back the company town

Christianity Today is required by law to provide every member of its staff access to booze and porn.

Most of us don’t think of it that way. We would just say that Christianity Today is required by law to pay its workers for the work that they do. The wages paid to their workers then belong to those workers, and since that money no longer belongs to Christianity Today, it has no say in how those wages are spent. The compensation has changed hands. It no longer belongs to the employer, but to the employees, and it’s up to them what to do with it.

But CT says this isn’t fair. It is, after all, a religious company with religious values, and it seems to them to be a violation of their religious values if the pay they pay their workers can be spent on things like alcohol and pornography. Labor law, they say, restricts their religious liberty to ensure that wages they pay are not later spent on anything that would contradict their core religious convictions.

This is their argument.

It’s an astonishing claim.

An armed guard patrols a mining company town in Alabama in the early 20th century, making sure no miners try to escape into the free economy to purchase contraception.

Accepting this claim would fundamentally redefine the concepts of wages and of free labor — so much so that we would no longer even have language to name or to describe the payments employers make to their employees. We could no longer call them “wages,” because wages are the workers’ due, belonging to the workers and no longer under the control of the bosses. Nor could we any longer refer to “compensation,” because that also describes payment in exchange for the product of workers’ labor, and if employers still control the use of that payment, then such an exchange has not actually occurred.

We can find one historical model for the “religious exception” that CT is advocating, an economic structure once widespread in America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Many aspects of this model are no longer legal, and it has been universally condemned as an immoral, unjust and exploitative system. But perhaps CT can succeed in rewriting American law to make this model legal once again. (It’s not likely they can also successfully rewrite morality to accommodate its use, but that does not seem to bother them.)

The model in question — the closest historical model for what CT is endorsing — is that of the company town and the company store or “truck system.”

Our history classes tend to skim quickly past the darker days of industrial American capitalism, but even if you didn’t learn about this system in school, you probably at least remember the sketch of it provided by Tennessee Ernie Ford’s classic song “Sixteen Tons”:

You load sixteen tons, what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt.
Saint Peter, don’t you call me, ’cause I can’t go;
I owe my soul to the company store …

At their very best, company towns exerted a kind of benevolent paternalism over workers — controlling and dictating how they were able to spend their wages in ways that the company considered those workers’ best interest. Those workers weren’t free, but they were, in theory, cared for.

The premise of this arrangement was that power could be concentrated in a single set of hands, with benevolence and good intentions being a sufficient safeguard against exploitation. Yeah. That never turns out well. Unsurprisingly, companies that possessed complete power over the economic lives of their workers exploited that power in just the unjust ways that Ford sang about.

In a company town, workers were isolated from the rest of the world and the rest of the economy. They had no option but to rent company housing from their employer, from whom they were also forced to purchase their daily bread, clothing, equipment for work and everything else. The company was the only seller from which they could buy anything — any service, product, utility or necessity. And because the company thus had an uncontested monopoly, it was able to set its prices as high as the market could bear — meaning it ensured that every penny of workers’ wages would be returned to the company.

Every penny and then some, actually, since company towns were also creative pioneers in the exploitative art of payday lending. Hence “another day older and deeper in debt.”

In many cases, the company would abandon any pretense that its workers still belonged to the larger economy of free labor. Instead of paying workers in government currency, they would issue company scrip — a kind of privatized currency that could only be spent with the company itself.  (Imagine Walmart paying its employees with Walmart gift cards instead of cash — gift cards that included an automated employee surcharge rather than an employee discount.)

The use of such company scrip dispelled any illusion that workers owned or controlled their wages. Those wages still belonged to the company, just as the workers themselves did.

This is the model that Christianity Today is endorsing.

Not for everyone everywhere, of course, but only as a “religious exception” for devoutly religious employers. They are not (yet) arguing that ExxonMobil be allowed to retain control over how its employees spend their wages, but CT demands that saintly (their image, not mine) corporations like Hobby Lobby be granted such control over wages and workers.

We should step back for a moment here to recognize the absurdity of CT’s attempt to make this a “religious” claim, because their argument is simply indefensible on Christian religious grounds. The religion in question here is evangelical Christianity  — Bible Christianity. And the Christian Bible is resoundingly, unambiguously opposed to the exploitation of workers. This is not a gray area. From Laban’s swindling of the swindler Jacob, to Pharaoh’s oppressive edict to make bricks without straw (the original company scrip system), throughout the law and the prophets and the parables of the Gospels, from the epistle of James to the beastly monopoly of John’s apocalypse, the Bible is — start-to-finish and all the way through — vehemently opposed to the exploitation of workers. CT’s argument is not religiously permissible, let alone religiously supported. Their Bible forbids their argument.

But as biblically and religiously indefensible as CT’s position is, I don’t want to get sidetracked into a sectarian religious argument. First because sectarian religious arguments cannot be legally compelling. And second because, as CT sadly demonstrates, such arguments appear to be so infinitely elastic as to be meaningless. If the Bible can be read to approve of the denial of wages, then the Bible can be read to approve of anything. Why bother citing scripture to those who think the Bible allows and endorses such exploitation? Once “religion” has been redefined to endorse such views, it can no longer offer much in the way of a common language for moral argument.

So let’s keep our focus instead on the simple, practical questions at the heart of this argument. Do wages belong to workers or do employers retain the right to control how those wages are spent?

If the latter — if employers retain such control over wages — then what does that mean for how we understand all of those things, employers and wages and workers? It seems to me we would have to redefine all of them, and to do so in a way that established that all of the power, all of the control, all of the rights and all of the liberty resided on one side of the transaction.

No, thank you. I do not wish to repeal a century’s worth of labor law — and the 13th Amendment — to permit such a “religious exception.”

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  • Michael Pullmann

    The analogy I always thought of for company scrip was Disney World paying cast members in Disney Dollars. Which you know they would do if they could get away with it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    I fear WalMart may be more than willing to advocate this idea as well, one more reason I don’t shop there if I can help it.

  • Tofu_Killer

    Ouch. It wasn’t Tennessee Ernie that wrote “Sixteen Tons”, it was Merle Travis. 

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3I15_KUsOzs

  • histrogeek

    Henry Ford made quite a point of corporate paternalism in Dearborn, with many of the same attitudes CT has. He created his community to assimilate immigrant  workers and improve their moral well-being (restricting alcohol sales for example). He didn’t use corporate script or restrict movement, but he did have his own not-especially-secret police force, which checked up on workers for both moral infractions as well as hunting union organizers. (Weird how he was such a fan of Hitler right?)
    CT (and many Republicans) seems to imagine we live in some feudal society where the patroni is responsible for controlling their peasants. Mind you, CT and the GOP would freak if they had to maintain the lifelong employment for their peasants. So they prefer a system that is amazingly even more exploitative of workers than feudalism. Given them credit, that’s pretty hard to manage without actually selling people.

  • Jessica_R

    That’s what really horrifies me, it’s 2013 and we’re living in the worst of the gilded age/feudalism. Because Ford and the Robber Barons of old could be utter bastards but they at least made token attempts to provide for their workers, and went on to build hospitals, universities, and infrastructure. And in feudalism there’s at least the pretense of Noblese Oblige where the Lord was expected to ensure his peasants had fields to plow and food to eat. 

    Now we’re in the age of “human resources”, walking meat that’s to be chewed up and spit out when it’s no longer useful. This isn’t Free Market Capitalism  it’s Plutocracy. More over it’s Mitt Romney style Plutocracy, sons who have inherited their father’s store and feel not a single molecule of responsibility for the public good. Romney honestly being surprised and disgusted that people felt they were entitled to food is the endgame of this kind of system. 

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    “Pretense” is too strong a word — there were certainly abusive lords and systematic shortcomings, but the robber barons and the fiefs all knew that if the peasants starved at a faster-than-acceptable rate for a longer-than-acceptable time, they were either going to face a labor shortage or fire’n’pitchforks.

    In this regard, the robber barons and fiefs demonstrated markedly superior foresight than today’s plutocrats.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Riastlin-Lovecraft/100000678992705 Riastlin Lovecraft

    “Against the exploitation of workers”. Sounds like socialism to me, and I therefore do not need to listen to you.

    ….I really, really, wish I lived in a world where that statement was considered absurd.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Riastlin-Lovecraft/100000678992705 Riastlin Lovecraft

    “Against the exploitation of workers”. Sounds like socialism to me, and I therefore do not need to listen to you.

    ….I really, really, wish I lived in a world where that statement was considered absurd.

  • Fade Manley

    My introduction to the concept of company stores was that song; my older brother sang it for a high school choir performance, and my father had to explain it to me. I filed it away as one of those horrifying things from the days of children losing hands in fabric mills.

    When I took a temporary job at GameStop one December, they wanted to pay me with a special company card that could be spent at a variety of stores, like Walmart, or redeemed for Real Money by a complicated process. Which horrified the ever-living fuck out of me; I had to opt out of that via special paperwork. And frankly, I’m still appalled. Way too many shades of company store in that approach.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    When I took a temporary job at GameStop one December, they wanted to pay me with a special company card that could be spent at a variety of stores, like Walmart, or redeemed for Real Money by a complicated process. Which horrified the ever-living fuck out of me; I had to opt out of that via special paperwork. And frankly, I’m still appalled. Way too many shades of company store in that approach.

    I had a very similar job that I took after college, working at Game Crazy for fifteen months for minimum wage.  My only consolation when I worked there was “At least I’m not working at Game Stop.”

  • Tofu_Killer

     The parallels actually go much further than the company town, although that is one shining example of corporate paternalism. It used to be perfectly acceptable for a company with High Moral Principles to monitor their employees for temperance and upstanding family values, under the rubric that fast city living and modern society were undermining community standards and prevented traditional social policing.
    It also helped that the ownership class was very white, male, and christian while the employees were darker, immigrant, mixed sex, and possibly Jewish or Catholic.

    Women who went to restaurants unescorted were fired out of hand. Men who drank in their homes lost their jobs. Failure to attend church weekly (whatever the denomination) were blackballed. And a hint of extramarital sex…you get the picture.

    It was so commonplace that no one commented on it, and now we live in such a different world that such a degree of employer pervasiveness in our personal lives seems impossible to MOST of us.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

    I’ve been rereading John Darwin’s After Tamerlane: A Global History of Empire Since 1405 lately.  It’s a massive and magnificent volume that attempts a survey of the entire world’s geopolitical and economic systems for the past 600 years.

    The passage I got to yesterday was about the primarily British world system from the 1880s through the dawn of WWI and it hit on economics and culture.  On the economic side there was a stated belief that free markets and free trade would solve all the world’s problems and be a benign fix that would give all the people of the world a place in the economic system.

    Then a section called “Culture Wars” contained this fascinating bit:

    The Europeans assumed that their sudden rise to such a dominant position among continents and cultures arose from their discovery of perpetual progress.  They alone had broken the cycle of growth and decay to which all other civilizations were subject.  They alone had discovered the secret to the wealth of nations.  They had achieved an unequalled technological mastery.  They had broken through the old barriers of superstition and myth to found their intellectual life on the rigorous collation of empirical knowledge.  It was widely assumed that they had reaped this reward by the careful observance of four cardinal rules.  The first was to encourage the free exchange of ideas and check the power of those (like priesthoods) who might try to restrain it.  The second was to secure the right to individual property (and thus the motive for improvement) against ordinary crime or the predation of despots.  The third was to construct a form of social order that would maintain moral, and especially sexual, discipline among those on whose labour material progress depended.  The right treatment of women in their ‘separate sphere’ became the acid test of a developed society.  The last was the promotion of physical vigour and courage, the ‘manly’ qualities to which Europeans abroad were inclined to attribute their military prowess and political dominance.

    I realized that the United States has pretty much been exactly duplicating the attitudes of Europe from a century before.  Darwin didn’t talk about it specifically in the bit I quoted, but but he very much does bring up European exploitation of non-European subjects and discusses European cultural arrogance at much length.

    The company store mentality espoused by Christianity Today fits in perfectly with that.  There’s a business class that thinks that free trade will solve everything specifically because free trade allows them to make money hand over fist and exploit their workers.  They then keep their workers in a company store and tell them what they are and are not allowed to do because it works to their own benefit.  It doesn’t matter that the rules are incoherent and/or at complete odds with what the rules were last week.  All they care about is having the rules so that they can maintain control and reap the rewards of “free trade.”

    It worries me more than a little bit.  I doubt we’ll end up having another World War 1, since the geopolitical reality of a unipolar, superpower based world is far different from the interconnected and relatively balanced diplomacy of Europe in the lead up to WWI.  I would not, however, be surprised to see something akin to a Communist Revolution starting as a backlash against the moneyed class and the church.

  • AnonaMiss

    I disagree.

    Employer-provided health insurance is already a form of scrip, not a wage. An employee can’t choose to spend their health insurance on a new car, for example. They can’t even choose to sell their coverage to someone else for cash, whereas with scrip or non-money compensation (e.g. stock options) they can theoretically do so if they can find a buyer. With health insurance, the company is already dictating what the employee can spend that part of their compensation on, so I have a hard time taking seriously the argument that slightly tightening the restriction is a moral tipping point.

    If it’s wrong for a company to exert any control over how employees spend their compensation, then the proper response isn’t to demand that they slightly relax their grip on our genitalia, it’s a complete rejection of employer-provided healthcare & retirement benefits in favor of purely-currency compensation.

    In my view, trying to get out of paying for birth control is wrong because it’s sex discrimination (refusing to cover treatment for the many female-only maladies that are treated with birth control pills, or demanding company access to women’s medical files before some treatments while men get to keep their medical records private); and because allowing ACA exemptions on religious grounds is effectively a tax subsidy which can be claimed only by members of religious groups recognized by the federal government as holding certain (anti-health care) beliefs, which violates the establishment clause and is a perverse incentive to boot.But if the ACA weren’t law, and absent discrimination between employees on the basis of race sex religion gender identity etc., I don’t see anything wrong with an employer setting restrictions on how employees’ healthcare benefit may be used, any more than I see anything morally wrong with an employer dictating that a certain amount of employees’ compensation must go towards their retirement (pension funds are the best example here, since 401ks can technically be tapped before retirement at a penalty). Again, it’s essential that the employee have at least a living wage in currency to avoid the company store situation; the part that the company can ethically put conditions on begins after that point. If Wal-Mart started giving out 1 gift card a month to employees on top of its currency compensation  – well since it’s Wal-Mart, it would still be wrong because Wal-Mart doesn’t pay a living wage. But if someplace like The Home Depot added a gift card on top 0f reasonable currency compensation, there wouldn’t be anything wrong with that.

  • AnonaMiss

    Please forgive the giant last paragraph; it was 3 paragraphs before Disqus decided to hate me again.

  • EllieMurasaki

    If it’s wrong for a company to exert any control over how employees
    spend their compensation, then the proper response isn’t to demand that
    they slightly relax their grip on our genitalia, it’s a complete
    rejection of employer-provided healthcare & retirement benefits in
    favor of purely-currency compensation.

    I would be down with that. After universal health care (that covers contraception and abortion and whatever else employers don’t want their health insurance dollars paying for) is put in place, of course, as doing it the other way around would leave many people shit outta luck.

  • AnonaMiss

    Oh yeah, I’m definitely down with the idea that required pure currency compensation would be preferable to the way we do things now, complete with the collectivization of retirement & health care through self-government rather than through the whims of employers.

    My point was just that there’s plenty of things we’re OK with employers dictating about our compensation, so treating a slight tightening of what they allow as a huge moral tipping point, when the compensation is already narrowly earmarked for healthcare, isn’t appropriate.

  • Barry_D

     “My point was just that there’s plenty of things we’re OK with employers
    dictating about our compensation, so treating a slight tightening of
    what they allow as a huge moral tipping point, when the compensation is already narrowly earmarked for healthcare, isn’t appropriate.”

    No, because (as has been pointed out), allowing employers to play games within categories at will opens up a can of sh*t-worms.

  • AnonymousSam

    But here’s the thing: The company isn’t the one buying this scrip. In theory, it’s the workers spending a small part of their paycheck which the company bundles together to purchase insurance on their behalf. All the company has done is enable their employees to buy in bulk, as it were — you can always negotiate more efficient prices if you buy a lot of something all at once, rather than trying to buy in individual units.

    Think of it this way: Four teenagers each have a $5 and want to order a pizza which costs $20, but the pizza parlor requires you to pay with debit or credit if you’re ordering online. The teens pool their money together and give it to their parents, who will order the pizza on their behalf.

    Now imagine that the parents decide to insist that the teens, although buying this with their own money, are required to order a vegetarian pizza instead. Why? Because the parents are vegetarians. The teens aren’t and the parents claim they don’t care what the teens eat any other day of the week and don’t plan on eating any of this pizza themselves either, but in this context alone, they argue that they don’t want to be contributing to the slaughter of helpless animals. So veggie pizza or no dinner at all.

  • http://twitter.com/Jenk3 Jen K

    See also, if a married couple both can get insurance through work, they might get both types of coverage or only the one they judge the best deal.  

    Example: When I was laid off from my full time gig 2 years ago, we did COBRA.  When hubby got a temp gig, we could get similar coverage through his agency at a lower price to us than COBRA or my agency, so we switched.  I got converted to full time at an employer that offered better coverage at a lower price, so we switched again. 

  • AnonaMiss

    Please don’t mistake me for someone who agrees with CT. I disagree with Fred’s reasoning, not his position. I think it’s absolutely unlawful and unethical discrimination to try to buy less benefits for your female employees, and I think it’s absolutely unlawful and unethical (though sadly not illegal) for the federal government to waive the penalty tax for some organizations because of religion.

    But to examine whether it’s wrong in principle, let’s pretend that the ACA never passed, and so there’s no tax implications; and let’s choose a procedure that hits all people equally, so there’s no discrimination. Strep throat, let’s say strep throat. Acme Corporation is against covering strep throat, and let’s further say it’s for some asinine and patently untrue reason, like they think only people who watch Disney get strep.

    Let’s say that Acme is willing to pay $20/hr to hire Wile E. Coyote. Because of the various group bonuses, tax benefits, etc., they can get health benefits for Mr. Coyote at half the price that he would have to pay to self-insure. So they make him an offer of $15/hr plus benefits equivalent to what he could buy for $10/hr, but which explicitly don’t cover strep throat. Let’s further say that Acme didn’t misrepresent the offer at all, and Wile is under no illusions that his job will cover treatment for strep. He’d prefer to have strep coverage, of course, but his individual rate would be terrible given how often he falls off cliffs.

    Obviously this is a much better situation than many people have in real life, but I think it points to where the actual problem is, which is that many companies will overrepresent the value of their benefits (e.g. paying Mr Coyote $15/hr, giving him $6/hr worth of benefits, and pocketing the $2/hr they save) – and/or pay less than a living wage to begin with. But the wage withholding is happening there, at the point where the employee is being stiffed on actual pay. Not at the point where strings are attached to the benefits.

  • AnonymousSam

    Given the risks involved in pregnancy and the danger of creating a precedent for allowing one’s morality to dictate what someone else can do which may very well put their life in danger, I would dispense with conscientiousness arguments entirely and simply put forward a hypothetical situation which won’t be hypothetical for much longer: Say we agree that Hobby Lobby has the right to prevent its employees from getting health insurance which also covers birth control. Fine.

    What do we do when Hobby Lobby then decides that it doesn’t approve of vaccinations, blood transfusions, HIV medication — or worse, any medicine that isn’t just plain “rub-it-with-a-magic-root-and-pray-to-IHVH” mysticism? What if they object to divorce, and threaten to fire anyone who doesn’t report being happily married at least once a week? What if they object to enabling same-sex marriage and threaten to fire anyone who doesn’t report feelings of overwhelming homophobia at least once a week?

    At some point, not only is it a gross violation of privacy for which they should have no justification whatsoever for making (bugger their conscience, truly), but they’re also endangering people with these beliefs. Where do we draw the line?

    (The gliberatarian/overprivileged response to this is “Just get a different job. You don’t have to work for Hobby Lobby.” Now if only it were so easy to choose which employers hire you! That’s not far removed from condemning those suckers who didn’t choose to be born to rich parents.)

    I’m not willing to pretend that pregnancy isn’t dangerous, both physiologically and because of the stigma against pregnant women (and women in general) — see: how often pregnant women get laid off, the ridiculously miserly maternity leave in the United States, etc. In addition, birth control medication also has uses outside of contraception which can lessen or prevent pain and other complications of the body. If Hobby Lobby has a moral objection to preventing pain, what stops them from having an objection to aspirin?

    So for me, the line is right here. Hobby Lobby has no right to endanger the lives of others or force them to live in worse conditions. The moment we cross that line, we start giving power to employers that they SHOULD NEVER HAVE.

  • AnonaMiss

    Sam, you’re arguing against a straw me.

    You don’t need to convince me that the companies seeking this exemption are assholes. You don’t need to convince me that pregnancy is a dangerous condition that women should have the right to avert at any cost: I have a screaming panic phobia of childbirth, to the point that when I even hear that someone has recently had a baby I get queasy, even as I’m glad that they’re happy. You don’t need to convince me that hormonal birth control has uses other than contraception, because I have used it for menstrual regulation before, and will likely have to again; in fact, I explicitly acknowledged it earlier as a reason why trying to get out of covering birth control is sex discrimination.

    I have given two big reasons why I believe no company should be allowed to dodge the ACA tax penalty should they choose not to cover hormonal contraceptives, one of which was the aforementioned “It’s sex discrimination” and the other of which is that it’s effectively a tax subsidy for having certain, specific religious beliefs.

    I am not your enemy. I just point out problems for a living. And I wouldn’t let this particular argument for requiring hormonal birth control coverage hit production.

  • AnonymousSam

    Not intentionally, though I certainly apologize for reiterating old arguments you’ve already seen or expressed. My short-term memory is awful and I tend not to put much stock into Internet names, so with reliable frequency, I wind up treating people as if they were new to the argument every time I meet them or whether they’ve already been around the block a few times. While it might be insulting on various levels, at least it helps keep everyone on the same page as far as information and whatnot goes.

    But still, as a whole, I think it summarizes down to the neat argument that it’s dangerous to let any precedents be shaped which have the potential to cause harm to someone else.

    I might be more accepting of the script/gift card/pension argument if the wages really were reasonable, but if they were, then we wouldn’t be arguing about health insurance because it’d be something everybody could afford and having to buy birth control pills on the side would be a first world problem, like having to drive a whole extra block to get a macchiato from the only place in town that uses 2% milk instead of skim, and ugh the parking spaces near the front are always full.

    Then it might be forgivable, but I’d still have to disagree and say it’s wrong for an employer to dictate terms by which an employee can spend their wages under any circumstances, as it still creates the possibility of wage slavedom — a lot of farmers for produce companies get trapped in this cycle, forced to buy new equipment through their employers so often that they don’t actually make much money for themselves. The company gets to brag about how much it pays their local farmers while actually requiring that a huge part of their paycheck be returned to the company to pay off the farmer’s debt, which they had no choice in incurring.

    Given that this is the country where people used the 13th amendment to argue (successfully) that business shouldn’t be regulated by the government, creating any kind of exploitable precedent is just something I have to watch very closely.

  • Lliira

    Regarding your strep throat metaphor: And let’s say we can all fly to Mars on the backs of pegasi.

    That is not the situation we are talking about. That is nothing like the situation we have now and has nothing to do with it. Strep throat is not sex-linked as far as I know. It has nothing to do with sex or misogyny or modern Christianity as it is (mal)practiced in the current United States or with anything else in Christianity Today’s ludicrous article. Try to divorce this argument from misogyny, and you ignore what’s actually going on and end up on, basically, a different planet.

    I do not understand what you are trying to argue anyway. That we need universal health care, not linked to employment? Yes. I think the vast majority of people here, and Fred, agree on that. What that has to do with the price of pills in Alabama, I have no idea. We have to deal with the world we actually live in at this moment and the problems we actually face at this moment.

  • AnonaMiss

     Lliira, I am pointing out flaws in this particular argument that Fred presents in his post, not arguing that companies should be allowed to not provide hormonal birth control. I am fully aware of the misogynist implications of it being birth control specifically that so many companies are trying to not-cover, I think it’s shameful, and I’d already brought it up on this comment thread at the time of the strep post.

    But the post we are replying to didn’t say “CT is being misogynist” (“Dog bites man!”), it said “attaching strings to compensation is wage theft.” That’s the entire premise of the post. So I constructed a scenario in which strings attached was the only issue, in order to argue that attaching strings to compensation isn’t (inherently) wage theft.

  • Beroli

     

    But the post we are replying to didn’t say “CT is being misogynist”
    (“Dog bites man!”), it said “attaching strings to compensation is wage
    theft.” That’s the entire premise of the post. So I constructed a
    scenario in which strings attached was the only issue, in order to argue that attaching strings to compensation isn’t (inherently) wage theft.

    I think for the example to fit perfectly, Acme would need to be claiming a religious exemption from providing for strep throat when the government ordered it to do so. At which point, Acme is in the wrong.

  • AnonaMiss

    Oh totally. I meant to indicate (and thought I had indicated, must have lost it in editing) that the Acme example happened in a world in which the ACA hadn’t been passed. The idea was to completely isolate the “attaching strings to compensation” and see if it struck me as unjust by itself.

    There are plenty of reasons why employers trying to get out of paying for health insurance is wrong. Sex discrimination, separation of church and state, obvious attempts of fraud on the part of the employers (“Our CEO is a Christian, therefore we have the right to not have to pay our employees minimum wage!”).

    My only point was that attaching strings to compensation==wage theft, is not one of them.

    Fred’s argument: x -> y; x, therefore y

    My argument: x -/> y

    How the comment thread read my argument: (x -/> y) -> ~y

    The conclusion I was actually driving for: z -> y; z, therefore y; x is immaterial.

  • Beroli

     I don’t think Fred’s argument hinges on “attaching strings to compensation is inherently wrong,” though. Nor do I think his argument can be understood at all in the absence of the Affordable Care Act (at that point, you’re addressing a hypothetical argument Fred didn’t make, which would seem to amount to “the only thing an employer has a right to pay employees in is cash”). Hobby Lobby is claiming a religious exemption from following part of the law. In the USA before the Affordable Care Act, no one questioned a company’s legal right to put whatever wacky riders and exemptions they could get their employees to swallow in the health insurance it offered (if it offered any); so?

  • AnonaMiss

    Maybe I gravely misunderstand this post, but I don’t see any other way to read the following:

    …we would no longer even have language to name or to describe the payments employers make to their employees. We could no longer call them “wages,” because wages are the workers’due, belonging to the workers and no longer under the control of the bosses. Nor could we any longer refer to “compensation,” because that also describes payment in exchange for the product of workers’ labor, and if employers still control the use of that payment, then such an exchange has not actually occurred.

    How is this not an argument against any kind of payment to workers that isn’t currency?

    I don’t think Fred actually believes this, I think he just hasn’t thought through the consequences of his argument.

  • Beroli

    How is this not an argument against any kind of payment to workers that isn’t currency?

    …Even in your example, the insurance Acme buys for Wile E. Coyote then belongs to Wile E. Coyote. If Acme buys a year-long insurance policy for Wile E. Coyote, and then the insurance company says, “We’re going to add strep coverage to our 261B insurance policy, no other changes!” Acme has no right to scream, “NO NO NO! Our employees must not be covered for strep!” That only makes sense of the insurance policy still belongs to Acme.

    This is a rather goofy analogy because it’s built on a rather goofy analogy. If you want to argue the case further, please come up with an analogy that doesn’t presume the nonexistence of the Affordable Care Act, because having to talk as though the law that is central to this whole issue doesn’t exist is frustrating.

  • AnonaMiss

    Edited to add: It also makes your argument self-refuting. “Acme could have done this before the passage of the specific law Hobby Lobby is resisting…of course, they couldn’t do it now!”

    My argument isn’t about whether or not it’s legal for Hobby Lobby to do this. I am arguing against a premise of Fred’s argument in this post. Just because I think his argument in this post doesn’t follow doesn’t mean that I disagree with his position on the ludicrous idea that corporations should receive tax breaks because their top management holds certain religious beliefs.
    My argument is that the HL/CT argument is wrong for completely different reasons than the ones Fred outlines in this post. The reasons it is wrong have to do with sex discrimination and the establishment clause on the legal front, and on the moral front, sex discrimination, lying to themselves and others, and intentionally ignoring the harm they cause to others. This blog post is not about any of that. Instead, Fred makes the claim that it is inherently wrong for a portion of employee compensation to come with strings attached.

    Bringing up company towns and making a big deal of employer-provided health insurance telling employees how they can and cannot spend their benefits is ridiculous. The very essence of employer-provided health insurance is the employer telling employees how they can and cannot spend a portion of their benefits. In some cases – though other posters on the thread have said that they can receive increased currency compensation if they opt out of health insurance, my family’s experience and the experience of others on the thread is the opposite – this portion of benefits must be used for insurance, or you don’t get it at all.

    In the case of matching 401k contributions, the whole point is that if you don’t spend part of your salary in the way the employer wants you to, you receive less for your work. Are matching 401k contribution plans immoral, then? Is not giving the full match limit in cash upfront withholding wages from the employee?

    If you feel a need to place me in a larger scheme of things of the Epic Battle between Progressives and Regressives, you can think of me as quality control: stopping the progressives from bringing up a shitty argument when it comes time to argue with the regressives.

  • Lunch Meat

    I kind of see both sides of this argument–I don’t think that if Hobby Lobby received an exemption, that would be one step further on the road to company towns, but I can see how it’s paternalistic and controlling in the same way. Employers have a choice what benefits to purchase for their employees as far as it affects them–for instance, they want their employees to be productive and healthy, they want high morale, and they don’t want to spend too much. So if insurance covering birth control was a higher level than insurance not covering birth control, then I could see employers refusing to do it. For instance, I don’t think employers should have to offer insurance covering luxury procedures like elective plastic surgery, and I don’t think they should have to offer insurance covering designer frames for glasses. But it is different when there’s no cost or qualitative difference between the two.

    I think an apt analogy would be paying for a dinner out at a restaurant, but demanding that everyone eat the same dish (again, when adding choices doesn’t increase the cost). Or paying for a health club membership, but telling them what exercises they can and can’t do and what classes they can and can’t take. Or giving them a day off, but saying they can only use it to go to church. Telling employees what they can purchase in a certain category is paternalistic and controlling in a way that simply giving them access to that category is not. Not only that, but it benefits those that live the same lifestyle as the employer in a way that giving choices does not.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Employers have a choice what benefits to purchase for their employees as far as it affects them–for instance, they want their employees to be productive and healthy, they want high morale, and they don’t want to spend too much. So if insurance covering birth control was a higher level than insurance not covering birth control, then I could see employers refusing to do it.

    But covering contraception is not more expensive than not covering contraception. Not to my knowledge, anyway, and also it shouldn’t be: abortions are more expensive than contraception, complications of abortions are more expensive than contraception and I’m pretty sure those have to be covered even when abortions themselves don’t (and the fact that abortions aren’t necessarily covered is a symptom of how fucked we are), prenatal care and childbirth and the various and sundry forms of postnatal care are much more expensive than contraception.

    And I can’t imagine that someone having regular maybe-baby sex and worried about pregnancy will have higher morale than someone having regular maybe-baby sex while on contraception and thus unconcerned about pregnancy.

  • P J Evans

     Most employers know better than to put strings on their paychecks. When that money goes to the employee, it’s no longer the employer’s money, and they have no say about how it’s spent. This is how it normally works.

  • AnonaMiss

    Whenever employers provide health insurance, the employers are determining how that part of their employees’ compensation may or may not be spent. They have choices of different plans which will leave different ‘blind spots’ in coverage. Even post-ACA this is the case, because not all procedures are mandated to have coverage.

    It’s true, after the purchase of insurance they have no say about what’s covered… until the insurance comes up for renewal.

    You can say that not covering birth control is sex discrimination, and I’ll agree with you. You can say that not covering birth control is a problem because it’s a necessary treatment for many serious health problems, and I and the woman from Luke 8:43-48 will agree with you.

    But if you say that the problem is the employer determining how you may or may not use your health insurance, that’s just silly – because as long as the employer purchases your health insurance and has multiple options to choose from, they are going to determine to some extent what your health insurance does and does not cover. As long as your employer provides any benefits, or any compensation that isn’t currency, they’re choosing how you may or may not use your compensation.

    Which is a slippery slope to serfdom and company scrip, apparently.

  • P J Evans

     My employer gave us a choice of insurance companies, and not choosing is also a choice. They don’t hassle people about which one, if any, is chosen. They do make sure you know how much it will cost. If anything is being denied, it’s by the insurance companies, which is a-whole-nother problem.

    I don’t understand why you seem to have problems understanding that the typical employer DOESN’T control what you do with you paycheck, and that compensation is compensation, no matter what form it takes.

  • AnonaMiss

     

    I don’t understand why you seem to have problems understanding that the
    typical employer DOESN’T control what you do with you paycheck, and that
    compensation is compensation, no matter what form it takes.

    I think the disconnect is in the word “typical”. If your employer provides multiple insurance company possibilities that’s great for you, but if you want to claim that’s typical, that’s a whole nother kettle of fish. I’m willing to accept that I may be wrong about what’s typical wrt them giving you your share of the insurance in currency if you opt out – though clearly it’s a custom, not a law, since we’ve had multiple attestations in this very thread that opting out of company insurance doesn’t mean you get currency back from it.

    However, I think it’s a stretch for you to claim that it’s typical for an employer to offer multiple insurance companies to choose from, because since the whole point of employer-based insurance is that they benefit from bulk rates, your employer is either so large that they can get the best rates without needing to consolidate all its employees under one plan, or they are intentionally shouldering additional cost and/or providing less value per compensation-dollar spent because they believe in the principle of giving their employees a choice.

    Which is all well and good, but there is no way it’s typical.

  • P J Evans

    There are two major insurance carriers in my area (call them ‘Evil’ and ‘Slightly Less Evil’). Some people prefer one, and some the other. I think most of the larger businesses do offer both; even the smaller one I worked for did.
    ‘Slightly Less Evil’ is more expensive for the employee; I don’t know how it differs for the employer, but clearly it isn’t a big enough difference to keep it from being offered.
    Neither one has provided what I would consider useful information for choosing coverage.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    you can think of me as quality control: stopping the progressives from bringing up a shitty argument

    Speaking as someone who is frequently frustrated by my allies making shitty arguments in favor of positions I endorse, I have nevertheless slowly come to the conclusion that my time is more productively (and less counterproductively) spent by making good arguments in favor of those positions rather than making good arguments opposing the shitty arguments in favor of those positions.

    That said, arguing with my allies over how well-constructed their arguments are is a lot safer, and sometimes more fun. It just doesn’t often seem to help anything, and sometimes seems to do harm.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    If you feel a need to place me in a larger scheme of things of the Epic Battle between Progressives and Regressives, you can think of me as quality control: stopping the progressives from bringing up a shitty argument when it comes time to argue with the regressives.

    That’s not a popular role. FWIW, I thought you made an interesting point.

  • SisterCoyote

     This is actually the best metaphor for this whole mess that I’ve seen so far. Mind if I steal it?

  • AnonymousSam

    If you deem it apt enough, then by all means.

  • Wingedwyrm

    Bare in mind that companies that offer health-coverage as a part of a benefits package do so not as a seperate payment in addition to wages, but in the stead of a portion of wages.

    It goes like this, the employee opts into the health coverage and, therefore, a portion of the money that becomes the employee’s never reaches the employee’s hands, instead being diverted directly into a purchased health-coverage.

    The benefit of this to the employee is that, by merging with a bulk-buyer of health-coverage, they pay less than otherwise.  But, the healthcoverage is paid for with employee wages.

  • Andrea

    Um, no, that’s bullshit. I do not opt into my employer-offered health coverage (because I’m covered on my spouse’s coverage), but my actual cash compensation package is not increased as a result. It is NOT in the stead of a portion of wages; by not opting into their coverage I forfeit those benefits AND the money my employer would have used to pay for them. I don’t think this is uncommon; my experience at my previous employer was identical.

  • Magic_Cracker

    Thanks how it works for me too. While my employer pays a portion of my coworkers’ health insurance (and deducts the difference from their paychecks), I do not receive the portion my employer would have paid to the insurance company as a cash bonus.

  • Wingedwyrm

    It was the situation every time I had health coverage through an employer.

  • P J Evans

     It shows up, or should, as a deduction on your pay stub. It may never reach your hands, but neither do the other deductions.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     I don’t have any issue* if a business wants to offer non-comprehensive health coverage — if, instead of offering “health care” they offer “HEalth Kare(tm)” as one of the benefits they give their employees even though they’re not legally required to.

    What’s Just Not On is if they want to give their employees HEalth Kare(tm) and pretend that they’re giving them actual health care. If you want to give out something that isn’t health care, that’s just ducky, but you should have to pay the fine associated with not giving your employees health care, andyou should be required to disclose that you’re not offering “health care” but “HEalth Kare(tm)”. Otherwise, the thing you are doing is “claiming to give your employees health care when you are really giving them no such thing,” or as it is more briefly known, “committing fraud”.

    (* Well okay, I’d have an issue in that it’s a total dick move and I would not want to work for such a company. Unless they paid me a lot of money.  Like, enough to afford proper healthcare. But I would not consider it a legal issue.)

  • http://redwoodr.tumblr.com Redwood Rhiadra

    Employer-provided health insurance is already a form of scrip, not a
    wage. An employee can’t choose to spend their health insurance on a new
    car, for example.

    Not true. My “employer-provided” health insurance is paid for entirely out of premiums taken out of my wages. If I had an alternate source of coverage, such as from a spouse’s employer, or Medicare if I were old enough, or the VA if I were a veteran, I could quite legally tell my employer to drop me and let me have the money – my take-home pay would increase and I could spend it on whatever I desired. About a third of the company’s American employees get their insurance elsewhere.

    Now, I certainly get a better deal than I would on the individual market (especially since I have a major chronic illness!) But the only cost to my employer is the administrative cost of choosing what plans to offer.

    This is pretty typical in modern corporate America (at least, every job I ever interviewed for indicated this was how health insurance benefits would be handled).

  • AnonaMiss

    I’ve actually never had an employer that provided health insurance (still under 26 though so thank FSM for the young people extension), but there seems to be a sharp divide in the comment thread between people who have never had a job that will pay currency instead of a benefit, and people who have never had a job that wouldn’t.

  • Estproph

    “Employer-provided health insurance is already a form of scrip, not a
    wage. An employee can’t choose to spend their health insurance on a new
    car, for example. They can’t even choose to sell their coverage to
    someone else for cash, whereas with scrip or non-money compensation
    (e.g. stock options) they can theoretically do so if they can find a
    buyer. With health insurance, the company is already dictating what the
    employee can spend that part of their compensation on, so I have a hard
    time taking seriously the argument that slightly tightening the
    restriction is a moral tipping point.”

    Not exactly. Employees can always choose not to participate in their health insurance program, which would mean that the money they save from paying for the program can go into stock options, cars, their own health insurance, etc. If it were really a form of scrip it would be mandatory for employees to take part in the program.

  • Guest

    The law now is that employers have to require contraception. I happen to support that, but it’s not really relevant. What is relevant is that I also support the fundamental right of every American (including the owners of Hobby Lobby) to not be an employer. I exercise that right every day, and I am not required to buy contraception for anyone (I’d be happy to, but again – not the point).

    You can have all the freedoms you want, but if you’re going to involve other people and their lives and livelihoods, it’s reasonable for society to ask you to do so responsibly. FWIW, I also support the right of the church (all churches) to not run businesses like hospitals.

  • Estproph

     “The law now is that employers have to require contraception.”

    That’s not even remotely the law.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    > That’s not even remotely the law.

    It would be intriguing if it were, though. Presumably employers would be in favor, since it keeps them from having to deal with temporarily losing employees to pregnancy. And it would mean that only unemployed people could have children, which would do some wonky things to our demographics over the next few decades.

  • Magic_Cracker

    Hell, my company’s code of conduct includes rather vague language about how we are the company’s representatives on and off the job and should comport ourselves accordingly. 

    Activities of which we should be especially wary include but are not limited to: political events*, volunteer work**, and fraternal organizations***. Obviously, lawbreaking, even (especially) civil disobedience, is right out.

    A woman I worked with was told flat out by our supervisor that her participation in roller derby called into question her professionalism, even though she never wore company paraphernalia to or presented herself as a representative of the company at derby events or shirked work for derby. She had made the simple mistake of talking about her hobby to colleagues and the supervisor decided that no, sir, she did not like it.

    Day-to-day, I do not personally experience any direct coercion or oppression, but I know that there is ample room for a tyrannical supervisor to root out/manufacture cause to fire me should they decide I’m worth the effort.

    *Even though many of the partners are openly involved with the GOP
    **Unless its with a preapproved organization, usually one on which board a partner serves
    ***The usual exceptions apply to organizations to which a member belongs

  • MaryKaye

    When I was a young teen I had a job dogsitting for someone who worked on the oil projects on Alaska’s North Shore.  From his description, those were company towns–they did pay in dollars, not scrip, but you couldn’t spend the money except at the company store, and you were there for longish stints with a stiff penalty for leaving early.  I don’t doubt that they recouped quite a large percentage of the high wages they paid.  In particular I bet their prices for alcohol were extremely high.

    So this model will reappear wherever it’s possible for employers to isolate their employees.

  • Jenny Islander

    But you can also order things from catalogs (or online these days) and have them delivered to you at your North Slope address.  The company flies you from the nearest major airport to your work site for free.  The housing is free, housekeeping is free, Internet and cable are free, and IIRC the food is free.  It’s a tough job and turnover tends to be high, so the company wants to keep the workers happy.

    I think Wal-Mart is pretty close to the company town setup, with the added twist that they push a lot of the cost of keeping workers alive on to the government aid system, pay their employees  just barely enough money to buy a few things at the cheapest place left in town, which is Wal-Mart.

  • Jenny Islander

    *happy so as not to lose the cost of training them.

  • Kit

     And it’s not just the prices and discount that keep WalMart employees unable to justify shopping elsewhere. It’s transportation expenses. I lived with a WalMart employee and his partner for a couple years when we couldn’t afford a car, then couldn’t afford a reliable car, and almost all of our groceries came from his work. Who could pay for the luxury of bus tickets or gas to go somewhere more expensive? He certainly felt cut off from the economy! Of course, it’s still nothing like paying him with a gift certificate, or removing his freedom to purchase contraceptives. Hahaha, he bought a lot of prophylactics right there, as I recall. But hey, Hobby Lobby cares a lot less about that.

    And always remember: the government aid WalMart forces its employees onto in turn pays WalMart to keep doing it, jumping right back out of their pockets for basic necessities.

  • Buck_Eschaton

    All CT gives their employees is blips on a computer screen, electronic IOUs.  I think they’re falling into the anti-Christian trap of believing that money has some kind of substance, or some kind of actual existence.

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    This is a very good demonstration of why religious liberty arguments against the ‘birth control mandate’ are hogwash, based on a worldview which sees most people as direlect fools who need their social betters to guide them by the hand in the name of freedom.   

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    so much so that we would no longer even have language to name or to describe the payments employers make to their employees

    Serfdom.

    How does the right wing in this country get away with claiming they’re patriotic when they want to undo every good thing this country stands for? We abolished aristocracy: they want it back.

    There’s a difference between rewarding employees in company goods and encouraging them to buy said goods, and forbidding employees from using their pay for anything the company does not want them to buy. I got a “free” XBOX360 when I worked at Gamestop because our store did so well one holiday season. Employees get discounts at the stores they work at all the time, and that’s a sensible perk that helps both the employees and the store. But if Gamestop had instead told me I was not allowed to shop at Target for games, that would have been morally and legally wrong. If Gamestop had told me I weren’t allowed to spend my pay on birth control pills or sex toys or lingerie or erotica or whatever — well, they’d never do that, as while they’re a pretty crappy company to work for overall, they are not actually batshit insane.

  • arcseconds

     Well, it depends on what you think the USA stands for, of course.   There’s a book around somewhere (can’t remember what it’s called, can’t find it with 5 minutes of googling) that argues that the (I’m going to put it this way) USA has always been about plutocracy: the focus has always been on freedom rather than fairness, and freedom has generally been interpreted to mean freedom from Government control, but freedom to do whatever you will with your workers and your money and your property.  That pretty much amounts to freedom for the rich.

    Now, of course, there’s another side to this: there’s a long history of Americans fighting for a richer notion of freedom, which starts to look more like fairness.   And sometimes they’ve been successful.  But the former notion of freedom has prevailed to a large extent in the USA — to a greater extent than it has in comparable countries, who never really entirely bought into that notion of freedom in the first place.

    So the right can call themselves patriots because they’re supporting freedom of the first kind.   In as much as countries stand for anything, the USA has stood for that (a lot of people believe it, it’s very common discourse, historically that view has won out to a great extent, the law has generally been written and interpreted to support this notion, &c. &c.).  And they think it’s a good thing.  So they’re supporting a good thing the USA has traditionally stood for, in their eyes.

  • histrogeek

     Like I mention, serfdom would in many ways be an improvement on what they are recommended. Serfs had guaranteed employment, Sundays and holidays off, and usually some arbitrary privileges (the medieval equivalent of getting an XBOX at Christmas, except you get one every year). The plutocrats would freak if they were required to keep workers on cradle to grave.

  • Lorehead

    I think one reason the Romney campaign never figured out how to respond to the Bain ads was that, to do so, they would have needed to understand what those were about.  Sure, Romney laid off a loyal, middle-class employee when he bought out the company, ending his career and thus forcing him to take a menial job and watch helplessly as his wife got sick and died because he couldn’t afford to save her.  But only some kind of mooching Socialist would think Mitt Romney had any kind of responsibility to him or his family.  Why did everyone seem to think he’d done anything to be ashamed of?

  • Lliira

    LOTS of holidays off. We work more now than our serf ancestors did — well, men do. Women had to fix the feasts and clean up after them and look after the children and…

  • ohiolibrarian

     … AND work in the fields during harvest and take in laundry or work in the buttery or spin wool/flax or some other regular job in addition to taking care of their own family/home/garden.

  • Jessica_R

    Frankly I don’t think Christianity Today goes far enough, they need to start arguing that upon death CEO’s have the right to have workers buried alive with them to serve them in the afterlife. Otherwise I’m going to suspect they’re secretly socialist, like that filthy hippie who was always talking about sharing in those boring books in the Bible that don’t have any genocide or seven headed dragons in them.

  • Buck_Eschaton

    That’s why the Trillion Dollar coin scares the crap out of them. They think all the money is theirs. They think it all belongs to them. That money has substance. Money in the USA is created out of thin air. They want to own us. They want us to sacrifice our children for our corporate careers for the blips on computer screens they provide us. They want us to worship at the CEO’s feet believing that money comes from them. It doesn’t, money is created by the government and given to the CEOs by the government. We don’t have the CEO’s money, the CEO’s have our money that was created by “we the people”.

  • Lorehead

    Eh, they’re fully aware that money is created by the government by fiat.  There’s a wing of the party, Ron Paul’s, that has a problem with that, and wants money to be gold, but it’s still the minority even within the movement.

    The platinum coin is a problem for them, secondarily, because paying the bills by printing money really is a dangerous precedent that could lead to hyperinflation if we get used to it, but primarily because they want to make President Obama give in to their demands in exchange for another temporary extension to the debt limit, and that would be a way to get out of the negotiation without giving anything up.

    It goes without saying that no patriot would act the way the House Republicans are acting.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Almost everyone misunderstands how inflation works, assuming that “inflation happens when you print more money”.  That’s not exactly true.

    Inflation is actually what happens when you have more money in circulation than it would take to buy all the goods and services in the economy.   If you don’t have enough money in circulation to buy all the goods and services in the economy, then printing more money doesn’t cause inflation.

    And the problem with have with the economy right now isn’t that we don’t have enough goods and services: it’s that no one is buying those goods and services because they don’t have enough money. The whole problem with the economy right now is that all the money got sucked up and is sitting under CEOs.

  • Buck Eschaton

    I’m not against fiat currency, it’s much better than going back to the gold standard.  As one of my favorite commenters on another blog says the gold standard is fascist.  Gold is no different from paper or blips on a computer screen.  I understand money to just be a lubricant for social relations, an agreement (an enforced agreement) between people, debtor/creditor relations. 

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Gold is no different from paper or blips on a computer screen.

     Not exactly. In the event that you find that your economy has generated new goods and services such that the total amount of money is no longer adequate to buy all of them, you can print more.

    With gold, you have to go locate some of the world’s finite gold supply and take it away from whoever has it already.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Or declare that an ounce of gold can buy more goods-and-services today than an ounce of gold could buy yesterday.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The usual way that was done in the past was by devaluing gold, instead of having to go find more. Something like this was done in the Great Depression, when gold was repriced in stages from $36 an ounce to $42 an ounce.

  • Lorehead

    Well, by definition, the amount of money in circulation at any given moment is enough to buy all the goods and services that are for sale.  It’s a macroeconomic identity that the money supply, times the velocity at which it circulates, is equal to GDP.

    It really was a surprise to opponents of qualitative easing when it didn’t cause inflation, although Paul Krugman had predicted it based on his theory that we were in a liquidity trap and that money would all be hoarded.  Some people seem to think that it’s an explanation to say that inflation didn’t happen only because the velocity of money went down, but really, that’s just a different way to say exactly the same thing.

  • MaryKaye

    I was having one of those frustrating non-conversations with a dentist (you know, when they put both hands in your mouth and then ask a complicated chatty question) and he happened to tell me that his mother wore increasingly tight clothing to conceal her pregnancy until month 8, because she was a flight attendant and would have been fired if her employers had realized she was pregnant.  She was married; apparently that didn’t matter.

    He couldn’t have been more than 40-45, so this is not the distant past.

    If people discover that they can get a say in your private life, some will try to do so, almost without  bounds.  I had to fight in a church committee once to keep us from passing a resolution that no member of the church group would use a hot tub.  All that was actually needed was “We don’t sponsor hot-tub events” (as the church had had issues with them in the past)  but one person was bound and determined to push the more general form.

  • Isabel C.

    I remember a holiday discussion a few years ago where my dad was talking about a teacher of his, and “…she left that year, since she had a kid.” Not just took maternity leave: left. Because once you had a kid, you couldn’t be a teacher.
    I also remember being very confused by Cherry Ames books, and why she couldn’t marry her love interest *and* be a nurse, because…apparently even that was a thing, back then. Employing married women encouraged them to take attention away from their home, or something.

  • http://tellmewhytheworldisweird.blogspot.com/ perfectnumber628

    This is really thought-provoking. I’m going to post a link on my blog. :)

  • Donalbain

    It isn’t just religious groups. As long as healthcare in America is tied to employment, you will have the company town system. 

  • veejayem

    oxymoron: (noun) an epigrammatic effect, by which contradictory terms are used in conjunction, example: Christianity Today.

  • LL

    Just remember, it’s bad when government (esp. the hated federal government) does it, but it’s OK when corporations (and their religious lackeys) do  it. The former is evil, one world government-type stuff, the latter is job creators (AKA our betters) fulfilling their duty to the rest of us stupid, sinful, lazy, shiftless masses. It’s not wrong to tell people how to spend the money they earn, as long as the person doing the telling is Jesusy enough. 

  • LL

    Also, I’m shocked to learn that Tennessee Ernie Ford was a communist …

  • Magic_Cracker

    Well, he was born Kamchatka Vladimir Stalin.

  • LL

    So McCarthy was right, they really were everywhere. Even in the Grand Ole Opry.

  • Magic_Cracker

    Didn’t you know that Dollywood is a reeducation camp?

  • Buck_Eschaton

    They really do think that money is real. How quaint. They think that money is somehow like a piece of real property on which you could put one of those convenant things that disallow gambling or something into perpetuity.  Land exists, money only exists as blips on a computer screen, or as images in our collective heads. I mean seriously, they probably think there’s some finite amount of money, and that the Fed Gov works exactly like a household. I mean seriously it sheds a very negative light on their theological writings if they can be so clueless about the nature of money.
    Do they think they’ve created those dollar bills in your pockets, or the blips on the computer screens?

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    Damn shame about the whole Hobby Lobby thing.  Their beads are pretty cute.  Yo, Hobby Lobby, I’m an atheist who uses birth control (note: not “abortificants”) and I used to shop at your store.  No longer.

    As for the company towns, well…at least there’d be more booze and porn for the rest of us.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    It occurs to me, since your values do not match Hobby Lobby’s stated principles, you should be allowed to go in and take back all of the money you ever spent at their store. 

  • Chris

    Would you guys be opposed if the government required Hobby Lobby to provide AR-15 assault rifles, like they are requiring them to provide abortifacients? After all this would just be another form of payment for their hard earned labor under the author’s reasoning. Would you stand on the side of big corporations that tried to fight a gov’t mandate requiring employers of 50 or more full time employees to provide AR-15’s to their employees?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=667708632 Kenneth Raymond

    Oooh, oooh, look! A drive-by biology fail in its natural habitat: the comment section of a blog that has directly refuted its nonsense already! And combined with a logic fail, at that! Now if only I had a camera with me.

    Seriously, does anyone want to take a turn at engaging this one? I’ve got other things I want to do tonight. I’d recommend against it, if only to keep the next page or three from turning into nothing but a spiral of arguments joining the circular reasoning in chasing its own tail, on the off-chance this isn’t a drive-by.

  • Turcano

     You don’t need a camera; that’s what the Print Screen button is for.

  • The_L1985

     Done, and done! :)

  • EllieMurasaki

    (1) Nobody is requiring anybody to provide abortifacients.

    (2) Supposing they were being required to provide abortifacients, provided the abortifacients were being used only to terminate pregnancies that the pregnant person in question cannot or does not want to continue, that requirement would be a good thing.

    (3) Half of all zygotes die on their own anyway. If you’re actually opposed to letting zygotes die, you’d insist on mandatory contraceptive use for anyone not actively trying to conceive, because even if contraceptive use killed zygotes, there’d be many fewer dead zygotes per hundred sexually active contraceptive-using women per year than per hundred sexually active not-contraceptive-using women per year.

    (4) And/or you’d be working on figuring out how to save those zygotes from whatever genetic flaws they have that make them incapable of surviving.
    (5) And/or you’d be working on requiring everyone with a uterus to undergo regular checks to see whether they need to face criminal charges for killing their precious widdle zygotes. Because if you’re objecting to abortion on the grounds that it’s murder (which you must be since you’re bringing in assault rifles as a comparison, and which is the only halfway reasonable grounds on which to object to abortion anyway, as all other possible grounds you could be objecting on rely on you not trusting people-with-uteruses who have sex with people-with-penises, which is obviously not the case because that’d be not a good-faith argument and also appallingly sexist), then you must want the same penalty to apply to someone who kills a zygote as to someone who kills a toddler, and if you’re objecting to contraception on the grounds that it’s abortion which is murder, then ditto.

    (6) In any event, requiring employers to provide health insurance that covers reproductive health for people with uteruses does not mandate that employees make use of that coverage, and it does correct an imbalance in that nobody has ever argued that they shouldn’t have to provide health insurance that covers reproductive health for men. Or even that they shouldn’t have to provide health insurance that covers Viagra.

    (7) What purpose would it serve to give assault rifles to people? Who could avoid massive risks to life, physical health, emotional health, and financial health by having access to an assault rifle? How would it save taxpayer money to increase assault rifle access? How would it keep people out of poverty?

    (8) People who provide abortion are not actually the Newtown shooter. People who get abortions even less so. Because abortion is not actually murder.

  • Daughter

    Interesting, because I could see the NRA pressuring the gov’t to do something like that. I mean, they’re trying to pressure schools, which are a major publicly funded employer, to do that now.

    But you’re missing a key idea here: no employee, under the ACA mandate, actually has to obtain and/or use birth control. The equivalent would be an employer having, via gov’t mandate, to make a variety of types of safety equipment available to their employees to use outside of work (e.g., alarm systems, triple bolt locks, vouchers to buy a dog or take self-defense lessons), and one of those options happens to be a gun. The employee wouldn’t have to avail themselves of the gun, but it’s available if they want it.

    Now, I  coulen’t see this happening unless we were living in some sort of dystopian fictional future where roaming gangs of bandits rule the streets and the gov’t has decided that this is the best way to allow people to protect themselves. But I wouldn’t find it unconstitutional, because individuals are being given the choice how they want to protect themselves, not their employer.

    Perhaps a pacifist employer would object to having to provide guns, given that the other options, while providing some form of self-defense, are much less likely to result in the death of an assailant. But if a death occurs, it would still be the employee’s fault, the employee’s responsibility, not the employer’s.

    And btw? Birth control =/= abortifacients.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     

    Would you guys be opposed if the government required Hobby Lobby to
    provide AR-15 assault rifles, like they are requiring them to provide
    abortifacients? After all this would just be another form of payment for
    their hard earned labor under the author’s reasoning. Would you stand
    on the side of big corporations that tried to fight a gov’t mandate
    requiring employers of 50 or more full time employees to provide AR-15’s
    to their employees?

    Well, I am fairly sure that guns have been scientifically proven to actually kill people, while emergency contraceptives have been scientifically proven to not be abortifacients under any conditions.

    So there’s that.

    (Seriously, contraceptives are not abortifacients. If your argument involves claiming thatthey are, you automatically lose for being a fucking liar.  Use an argument that does not require something which is flat-out demonstrably false as one of its base assumptions.)

  • The_L1985

    Well, there is exactly one exception I know of.  Mifeprex (a.k.a. RU-486) is usually used as an abortifacient, but is occasionally given as an E.C.

    It’s not done often, though, because U.S. law requires that Mifeprex can only be distributed by the doctor directly, unlike most prescription medications.  Pharmacies are not allowed to have it in stock at all.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Okay. I did not know that Mifeprex was used as an emergency contraceptive. I can’t actually tell if it prevents implantation, though, and if not then the whole fertilization/implantation thing is kinda irrelevant.

  • The_L1985

    1.  I can think of no good reason for anybody to use assault rifles as a form of currency.  Not only are they worthless without ammunition, but they literally have no use whatsoever beyond “kill lots of people, very quickly.”  At least knives have actually practical, non-killing-people uses; are more easily concealed; and can’t be used to create havoc on nearly as large a scale (which is why they have actually been used as currency in many cultures before coins were invented).

    2.  Hobby Lobby is not being forced to buy all its female employees birth control pills or Plan B.  It is forced to buy its female employees INSURANCE.  The insurance policy in question happens to cover birth control pills and Plan B as two of literally THOUSANDS of medications* and surgical treatments, but Hobby Lobby itself is not in any way directly involved in whether the insurance policy covers birth control pills, any more than it can make the insurance policy stop covering insulin injections, Viagra, anti-depressants, or colonoscopies.

    Hobby Lobby is basically suing over the fact that it has to provide insurance, because–surprise!–they’re not allowed to tell insurance companies what to do.  Nor should they be.  If you think it makes sense for a Christian-owned company to tell insurance companies what to do, then clearly you believe that a company owned by Jehovah’s Witnesses can forbid all its employees from receiving any blood transfusions if they’re in a car accident, because that is literally the exact same argument that Hobby Lobby is trying to make.

    One would think that a Christian woman who is against artificial birth control and doesn’t wish to go against her conscience would simply not use artificial birth control, but apparently that’s too easy or something.

    3.  During a woman’s fertile period, her egg is in the Fallopian tubes, slowly traveling downward.  Meanwhile, after sex, a man’s sperm is in the vaginal canal, working its way up.  It takes several days, sometimes as long as a week, for the sperm to make it up there.  (Remember, they’re microscopic.  Watch an ant crawling around, and bear in mind we’re talking about something 1000x smaller, with what amounts to having 5 fewer legs.)

    Plan B works by killing the sperm before they can get to the egg.  Conception == fertilization of the egg.  They are the same thing, and occur at the same moment in time.  If the sperm don’t reach the egg, you don’t get a baby.  This is also the primary reason why abstinence works.  If nothing is conceived, then there is nothing to abort, by definition.  Therefore, Plan B is not an abortifacient.

    Birth control pills work by preventing new eggs from being released at all.  Without an egg to fertilize, sperm pretty much have nothing to do inside a woman’s body, and once they get there, they essentially wander around, lost, and eventually die.  “But how do you know you aren’t ovulating during the first month?”  Because when a woman is first prescribed birth control pills, she is told to start taking them on the first day of her menstrual period, when an unfertilized egg is being flushed out of the body.  If she continues taking one pill every single day, as directed, she can’t produce any eggs.  No egg == no conception == nothing to abort, by definition.  Therefore, birth control pills aren’t abortifacients either.

    The only emergency contraceptive I know of that also is used as an abortifacient is RU-486.  This is not the same pill as Plan B, but is a different substance.  It is sold in the U.S. under the trade name Mifeprex, and is only available directly from the physician (i.e., you can’t get it at the pharmacy at all).  It’s also used to treat endometriosis, some severe forms of depression, several cancers, and glaucoma.

    4. Barcode scanners have been in common use since the 1970’s, everywhere except Hobby Lobby.  Hobby Lobby refuses to use them, and the only reason I’ve ever heard that makes any sense at all is that the company associates UPCs with the Mark of the Beast.  I don’t believe that any company that associates 40-year-old tech with the End of Days (which still has not happened yet) has any business setting industry standards on what insurance companies are and are not allowed to cover, because that is literally an insane idea.  You’d think after a full generation has passed and barcodes haven’t caused plagues and Wormwood, they’d have gotten with the 20th century on this.

    * Did you know that some of the women who take birth control pills aren’t even sexually active at all?  That’s because despite the name, birth control pills, like most medications, have more than one possible use.  Look up endometriosis and how it’s treated.

  • DavidCheatham

    Would you guys be opposed if the government required Hobby Lobby to provide AR-15 assault rifles, like they are requiring them to provide abortifacients?
    Hey, that actually is a fun question, except of course no one is requiring Hobby Lobby to ‘supply’ any such thing. Hobby Lobby is required to _pay workers_, both via actual money and via a health insurance plan, both of which can be used by the worker to acquire contraceptives. (Which you have confused with abortifacients.)

    So let us rework that analogy: Would you be opposed if the Federal government had passed a law saying businesses were _required_ to allow people to purchase guns with their wages, and Hobby Lobby (despite apparently not caring about the purchase of guns previously) decided it would now bar workers from purchasing guns and sued the government over it?

  • everstar

     

    except of course no one is requiring Hobby Lobby to ‘supply’ any such thing.

    I think you left the “yet” out of this sentence.

  • DavidCheatham

    Not only is no one going to require them to supply birth control pill, it is actually _illegal_ for Hobby Lobby to supply birth control pills. Birth control pills, being a scheduled substance, may only be supplied by licensed pharmacies.

    Sometimes I wonder what world some people live in, where random retail outlets are forced or even _allowed_ to dispense prescription medication to their employees.

  • Tricksterson

    Any evidence that there’s any plansto do that  And by eidence I men items of legisatins pending and/or actual quotes.

  • reynard61

    Here’s what I posted in the CT article’s comments:

    “Hobby Lobby: The First Martyr Under Obamacare?”

    Sorry, no. Hobby Lobby is a *BUSINESS*. Hobby Lobby is a *CORPORATION*. (Notwithstanding the SCOTUS definition.) Until Hobby Lobby is somehow shot through with a quiver of arrows (to use CT’s imagery) or is somehow hung from an upside-down cross or somehow broken on a wheel, Hobby Lobby *cannot* make any legitimate claim to anything even *approaching* martyrdom. The owners of Hobby Lobby can stew in their delusions of righteous “persecution” all they want, but; unless they restructure and re-register as either a non-profit charity or an actual church (I’d *LOVE* to see ’em try!); they are still answerable to U.S. corporate law — including the relevant portions of the ACA. (a.k.a “Obamacare”.) If their refusal to follow the law results, as Ms. Prior seems to think it would, in the “death” of the company; well, the Free Market seems to abhor a vacuum and no doubt some other corporation(s) with fewer qualms about obeying the law will step in and offer over-priced sweatshop-made craft materials and knicks-knacks. (And no-one worth their copy of “Atlas Shrugged” is going to argue with the Wisdom of The Free Market, are they?)

    So, no. Hobby Lobby is not a “martyr”. They don’t have my sympathy no matter how noisily they drag out their fainting couch and clutch their pearls and whine about how they’re being “persecuted”. Hobby Lobby is a business that must obey the law or face the consequences of not doing so. If they go bankrupt because of the fines that they have to pay, tough. They may think that they’re God’s Precious Little Snowflake, but; eventually; the Seasons change and snowflakes melt. If Hobby Lobby can’t take the legal heat, then it’ll melt too — as it deserves to.

  • JustMe

    I think I agree with some people that the company town analogy is a bad one.  Hobby Lobby’s not saying that their employees can’t buy health care that covers contraceptives with their wages.  Its saying that they don’t want to offer contraceptive coverage in the health care plan that they provide.  There’s nothing to stop the employee from buying their own contraceptive covering health care.    I’m not saying that they’re right to do so.  Only that it’s not really a good analogy.

  • Beroli

     

    I think I agree with some people that the company town analogy is a bad
    one.  Hobby Lobby’s not saying that their employees can’t buy health
    care that covers contraceptives with their wages.  Its saying that they
    don’t want to offer contraceptive coverage in the health care plan that
    they provide.  There’s nothing to stop the employee from buying their
    own contraceptive covering health care.

    I have a baseless suspicious, which I cannot support in any way but am going to have the bad taste to air here anyway, that Hobby Lobby has exerted and will continue to exert whatever political influence it has to maintain the system whereby most people who have health insurance get it through their employer and single-payer is not available in the USA.

  • The_L1985

    “There’s nothing to stop the employee from buying their own contraceptive covering health care.”

    Except for the part where I’ve never heard of anyone making that kind of money working retail.  I don’t even pay for my own health insurance, and I make more than the average Hobby Lobby employee!  And I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that most HL employees don’t have rich parents who can pay their health insurance for them, or they wouldn’t be working there to begin with.

    Seriously, I have very bare-bones insurance, and it’s $100/month.

  • Carstonio

     The analogy is good because in both instances, the employers are wrongly making judgments as to what employees should buy and using their power to implement those judgments.

    Sure, employees in a company town could have hypothetically held down second jobs that paid real cash instead of scrip, and traveled to another town to buy goods that they couldn’t in the company-run stores. The logistics of doing this on the frontier were probably even more insurmountable than the affordability of additional insurance for Hobby Lobby employees.

    Plenty of employers offer incentives for employees to pursue healthier lifestyles, such as exercise facilities or discounts on smoking cessation programs, partly because these benefit the employer as well through lower insurance premiums. But employers shouldn’t decide how employees should spend their compensation.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     The thing about the company towns is that if the company could pay you in scrip, they could pay you less than a living wage.  I’m not sure if the era of company towns and the era of a legally mandated minimum wage actually overlap, but what Hobby Lobby is doing is effectively saying “Minimum wage is $5 per hour. So we’ll pay you $4 in real money and $1 in DollarZ which are only redeemable at the company store.”

    Hobby Lobby is required to provide health insurance. And the government has declared that the thing called “health insurance” under the law must include contraception coverage. What they want to do is to provide something which does not meet the legal definition of “health insurance” and have that counted as meeting their legal requirement to provide health insurance.

    This is, in fact, just like if a company wanted to have paying you in scrip count as meeting their legal requirement to pay you minimum wage.

  • Steve

    What
    a strange claim patheos is making. I’ve read the Christianity Today
    article and it’s the old argument about
    providing contraceptives on the company health scheme. Nothing to do
    with the company town. Looks to me like patheos is making anti-Christian
    propaganda. I think someone should look up the ninth commandment about not bearing false witness.

  • Beroli

    …Right, anti-Christian. Because Fred Clark isn’t a Christian. And, “…the old argument about providing contraceptives on the company health scheme [is] nothing to do with the company town” is an established fact, rather than a belief of yours that Fred Clark is making a case against in the post you appear to have only read enough of to say “what a strange claim.”

  • The_L1985

    1. Fred is a Christian.  Christians are allowed to have different opinions from each other.

    2. Patheos is lots of different blogs by lots of different people.  When you click “Patheos Portal,” you are saying, “This is the religious background of the people whose blogs I want to read.”  Patheos is basically a paid, religious version of Blogger.  Your comment is pretty much identical to the statement “I don’t like what MySpace said about Justin Bieber.”

  • Michele Cox

    Just a quick note — because I think people are talking about two different things as though they’re the same — most-but-not-all employer-based health insurance is paid for in part by the employer, and in part by the employee.  If the employee opts out of the insurance in question, they are not charged the portion of the cost of their health-care coverage that they would otherwise have been charged; however, they do not receive an increase in wages equivalent to the amount the employer would have covered.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Incidentally, one thing that y’all should be aware of is an aspect of right-wing sophistry among economists who were trying to handwave away wage stagnation since 1973:

    They examined so-called “total compensation”: wages plus benefits.

    What they claimed was that inflation-adjusted total compensation kept going up after 1973, so the fact that people were taking home less actual physical dollars in their wallet wasn’t a problem, because access to health insurance, pensions and 401(k) matching retirement funds substituted for the lack of dollars, since it was money they would have gotten anyway.

    In theory.

    In practice, even this wasn’t really true because of:

    1. The aforementioned lack of total freedom of choice regarding employer-provided health insurance coverage through group policy plans. So while you might have health insurance, the question of how much value you actually got for the money you didn’t get paid depended on choices that were not based on your preferred economic reality.

    2. The decline, overall, of the percentage of workers who even would get a pension after they retired, as well as the highly variable circumstances of workers getting company matched 401(k) payments (see, for example, every dotcom that went belly up after 1999).

    The “total compensation” handwave has kind of died away as now, economists who want to back up the Republican standpoint are basically abandoning any kind of rationalization except “Uh, we think rich people need to be coddled and soothed into putting more money into companies they run.”

    But JSYK folks.

  • BaseDeltaZero

    Would you guys be opposed if the government required Hobby Lobby to provide AR-15 assault rifles, like they are requiring them to provide abortifacients? After all this would just be another form of payment for their hard earned labor under the author’s reasoning. Would you stand on the side of big corporations that tried to fight a gov’t mandate requiring employers of 50 or more full time employees to provide AR-15’s to their employees?

    Yes, I’d oppose it… because that’s a stupid idea.  If for some reason it was prudent to require every corporation to provide assault rifles, then I’d support it.  (It’d make more sense to just *give the people their rifles*, but there you go…)

    I think I agree with some people that the company town analogy is a bad one.  Hobby Lobby’s not saying that their employees can’t buy health care that covers contraceptives with their wages.  Its saying that they don’t want to offer contraceptive coverage in the health care plan that they provide.  There’s nothing to stop the employee from buying their own contraceptive covering health care.    I’m not saying that they’re right to do so.  Only that it’s not really a good analogy.

    Yes, but the health insurance they offer is *paid for with money withheld from the worker’s wages*.  They’re aribtrarily restricting what services the employee can get with that money.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    Honestly, that’s not even analogous to this situation at all. Hobby Lobby isn’t buying or paying for birth control pills or assault rifles for its employees. All it has to do is buy insurance. A lot of people have this vague (idiotic) notion that every employer will be required to have a birth control vending machine or a bowl full of birth control pills somewhere in their office, or have to deliver birth control to their employees, or some other situation like that. 

  • Lunch Meat

    A lot of people have this vague (idiotic) notion that every employer
    will be required to have a birth control vending machine or a bowl full
    of birth control pills somewhere in their office, or have to deliver
    birth control to their employees, or some other situation like that.

    Seriously. If employers are handing out birth control pills, that must mean they are also conducting physical examinations and performing surgery. Since apparently paying for or arranging the purchase of insurance that covers something means you actually literally take the place of the doctor who is normally paid to do it.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Okay, may as well inflict this on you, too.  There’s a Pony for this:

    The Bad Apple Chronicles:  Apple Shrugged

    This is a My Little Pony fanfic set in a nightmarish Objectivist company town which rips into Atlas Shrugged like Slack rips into Left Behind, including casting a ponyfied Ayn Rand as the boss villain.  Very surreal.  Enjoy, Slacktiverse.

  • http://twitter.com/MAGuyton Morgan Guyton

    Thank God I work for the United Methodist Church and not the Hobby Lobby. My church pays for my birth control. http://morganguyton.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/im-glad-my-church-pays-for-my-birth-control/

  • guestaerf

    The Bible is unabiguously against exploitation of workers? Seriously?
    1 Peter 2:18Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.Ephesians 6:5Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ.
    Pretty ambiguous with servant’s rights if th two passages abovve are also included.


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