The state of Washington is raising its minimum wage to $9.19 an hour, highest among 50 states. San Francisco is moving to $10.55 an hour. The federal minimum wage is $7.25, but some congressional Democrats want to raise it to $9.80 over two years.
In comparison, full-time employees at Hobby Lobby earn at least $13 an hour; part-time workers make at least $9. The company has boosted the minimum wage of its 15,300 employees for four consecutive years. Hobby Lobby CEO David Green and his wife, Barbara, also have vowed to donate much of their fortune to charity.
Ironically, the values prompting the Greens' generosity to workers and charities are now leading to a face-off with the federal government.
Obamacare mandates coverage of what many consider abortion-causing drugs. The Greens' religious beliefs, which fuel their altruism, also cause them to oppose funding abortion. The company is prepared to defy the mandate, potentially costing Hobby Lobby $1.3 million per day in fines. That will ultimately cost jobs and depress wages for the types of workers liberals like President Barack Obama claim to support, at least in theory.
The Greens don't want to choose between following the law or abandoning their religious faith. But if forced to do so, it's clear which path they'll take. This is civil disobedience at its finest, comparable to civil-rights era efforts where individuals defied bad laws to effect change.
The Obama administration must now decide if unfettered access to the week-after pill is more important than preserving jobs at a company whose employee pay policies should make it a liberal cause celebre, not a source of derision.
Sadly, Obama's desire to advance the abstract whims of fringe elements in his political base appears far stronger than his commitment to support actual workers, and their generous employers, in the real world.