Minimum wage hike won’t improve Nevadans’ lives

One night a week, I teach college students at one of our local universities about, among other things, our state and federal constitutions. Almost all of my students are working adults who have families and at least one full-time job. Instead of watching 300 channels of primetime cable all night, they devote time and effort improving their educations and their lives. Most, like myself, financed their educations via student loans. (My current balance: $30,451.78 and dropping, thank you very much.)

My students spend additional time outside of class producing group projects, writing papers, conducting research and studying for exams. On more than one occasion, I’ve received assignments via e-mail in obscenely early morning hours. Not once in two years have I ever heard a student complain about the workload, the schedule or the sacrifices required to improve themselves.

So, I tend to get my conservative feathers considerably ruffled whenever I discover a group of people who obviously have too much free time on their collective hands. To wit, the number of idiotic initiatives that have made there way onto the next round of “who can work a ballot” this election.

One such initiative is a proposal to raise the minimum wage, also known as Ballot Question No. 6. It reads: “Shall the Nevada Constitution be amended to raise the minimum wage paid to employees?” If passed, it purports to create a new section to our state constitution that would require employers to pay employees $5.15 per hour or $6.15 per hour if the employer doesn’t provide health benefits.

For the uninitiated, the minimum wage was first enacted in 1938 under President Franklin Roosevelt’s administration. Predictably, the battle cry this election season is to raise the standard. Like all causes liberal, this one also appeals to emotion rather than intellect.

The argument for having a minimum wage is to assist the working poor. The rationale is that an employee should receive at least a guaranteed minimum. Although it is appealing to suggest everyone should earn a decent wage, it is not that simple.

The reduction in employment that results from increases in the minimum wage is the cruel dark side of such legislation. When wages are increased by legislative fiat, there is no corresponding increase in productivity. When costs to businesses are increased they in turn seek ways to remain profitable. Incidentally, “profit” is not a dirty word. Every job in America—except a government job—depends on it.

One alternative is to outsource jobs abroad or to self-employed contractors. Another is automation. Machines do not require benefits, minimum wages or unions. The people who complain about jobs going abroad are the same people who encourage it by supporting such idiotic legislation.

If it is possible to mandate high wages, then why not also have low prices for food, shelter, clothing, and everything else that is good? I can hear the communists in the peanut gallery salivating. A brief history lesson, ladies and gentlemen. Communism doesn’t work. See “Fall of the Soviet Union” should you require an education as to why.

Why do liberals believe they can tell business how much any employee is worth? A fundamental law of economics is that an employee is worth whatever value said employee brings to the job. If you have no job skills and no education, whose fault is that? Certainly not business’s.

More important, perhaps one of you liberal types would be willing to explain a concept to my students. For example: Why is someone who made bad choices in life entitled to anything, when my students are working their collective tail feathers off to improve their own lives?