Today, a minority of United States Senators made the immoral choice to block an increase in the federal minimum wage. Just earlier this week, Pope Francis tweeted that "inequality is the root of social evil." And the inequality created when our workers receive unjust wages is clearly a main catalyst of the current economic crisis. 

But the people most affected by this disastrous decision are struggling American families who exist on the fringes of this broken economy. 

The Catholic faith teaches us that human work has intrinsic dignity, and that just wages honor that dignity.

The current federal minimum wage falls short of a just wage, because it fails to provide the resources for individuals to take care of themselves and form and sustain their families.

This fact should haunt our consciences: a full-year, full-time worker making the minimum wage does not make enough money to raise a child free from poverty. 

That's unacceptable, and Catholics want our lawmakers to do something about it. 

We urge American lawmakers to raise the minimum wage to meet the primary needs of our citizens. Workers deserve a just wage that allows them to live in dignity, form and support families, and contribute to the common good.

As Pope Francis has recently reminded us, "Work means dignity, work means taking food home, work means loving! To defend this idolatrous economic system the 'culture of waste' has become established; grandparents are thrown away and young people are thrown away. And we must say 'no' to this 'culture of waste'. We must say 'we want a just system! A system that enables everyone to get on'. We must say: 'we don’t want this globalized economic system which does us so much harm!'. Men and women must be at the centre as God desires, and not money!"

We must return the human person to the center of economic life, and one way we can do that is ensuring that workers in our country receive a just wage.

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