Newspaper column: Minimum wage bill doesn’t pass constitutional muster

Lisa Benson cartoon

Lisa Benson cartoon

Democrats in the Nevada Legislature have introduced Senate Bill 106, which proposes to amend the state minimum wage law by raising the minimum wage by 75 cents an hour each year until it reaches $11 an hour for employers who provide health insurance and $12 an hour for those who do not — a 50 percent increase.

There is one minor problem with SB106. You see, that minimum wage law was last amended by an initiative petition approved by the voters in 2004 and again in 2006, which amended the state Constitution to require that the minimum wage be tied to the federal minimum wage or inflation, whichever is higher.

The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, and thus that is Nevada’s minimum for employers who offer insurance and it is $8.25 for those who do not.

According to a Legislative Counsel Bureau fact sheet published in 2015, “Because provisions governing the minimum wage rate are included in the Constitution, any changes to the minimum wage provisions require a constitutional amendment.”

In fact, the Nevada Supreme Court in 2014 opined in a case specifically about the minimum wage law: “If the Legislature could change the Constitution by ordinary enactment, ‘no longer would the Constitution be “superior paramount law, unchangeable by ordinary means.” It would be ‘on a level with ordinary legislative acts, and, like other acts … alterable when the legislature shall please to alter it.’”

Seems rather unequivocal. None of the major news media noticed this minor flaw in the bill.

Just such a constitutional amendment was proposed by initiative petition in late 2015, but that was dropped during the hectic election year, reportedly because of the difficulty of getting enough signatures to put it on the ballot. It would have raised the base minimum wage to $13 an hour.

Even if lawmakers manage to pass such a constitutionally suspect bill, it might not avoid the governor’s veto pen. Media accounts have quoted Gov. Brian Sandoval’s press secretary as saying, “Due to the predicted loss of jobs and harm to small businesses, the potential to block young people and individuals with less work experience from open positions, and an increase in consumer prices, the governor has historically opposed a legislative mandate to increase the minimum wage.”

A minimum wage hike would clearly affect profitability of employers, tend to push all hourly wage rates up, result in higher unemployment, drive certain employers out of the state and increase the cost of goods and services in general — thus affecting nearly everyone in Nevada.

The impact of such a change in either the law or the Constitution would be far ranging and carry unintended consequences.

“Unfortunately, the real minimum wage is always zero,” economist Thomas Sowell points out in his book “Basic Economics,” “regardless of the laws, and that is the wage that many workers receive in the wake of the creation or escalation of a government-mandated minimum wage, because they either lose their jobs or fail to find jobs when they enter the labor force.”

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that if the federal minimum wage were increased to a mere $10.10 an hour — as proposed by President Obama and others in recent years — up to a million workers would lose their jobs.

According to the American Enterprise Institute, when the minimum wage rose 41 percent between 2007 and 2009, the jobless rate for 16- to 19-year-olds increased by 10 percentage points, from about 16 percent in 2007 to more than 26 percent in 2009 — even higher for minorities.

A Heritage Foundation study reported that every dollar increase in minimum wage really only raises take-home pay by 20 cents once welfare benefits are reduced and taxes are increased.

A Cato Institute analysis reports that a “comprehensive review of more than 20 minimum wage studies looking at price effects found that a 10 percent increase in the U.S. minimum wage raises food prices by up to 4 percent and overall prices by up to 0.4 percent.” Imagine what a 50 percent increase would do.Minimum wage jobs tend to be entry level jobs without which younger Americans cannot build the skills needed to earn higher pay. Nevada already has the 10th highest youth unemployment rate in the nation at 13.5 percent.

Attempting legislatively to raise the minimum wage is a bad idea for many reasons.

A version of this column appeared this week in many of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel and the Lincoln County Record — and the Elko Daily Free Press.

Update: On Wednesday the Assembly Committee on Commerce and Labor met to hear testimony on another minimum wage hike bill, Assembly Bill 175, which proposes to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $14 for employers who provide health insurance or from $8.25 to $15 for employers who don’t.

The question came up as whether the lawmakers have the authority change that law since the current law was establishes by constitutional amendment approved by the voters in 2004 and 2006.

The lawyer for the committee, Will Keane of the Legislative Counsel Bureau, responded: “I spoke with the Legislative Counsel Brenda Erdoes. She told me that our office thoroughly researched this during the 2015 legislative session and then updated and confirmed that research during the drafting of AB175 this session. She said that as result of their research it is the opinion of LCB legal, based on the rules of statutory and constitutional construction, that the provisions of the minimum wage amendment to the Nevada Constitution do not limit the inherent power of the Legislature to establish by statute a new minimum wage that is higher than the minimum wage that is currently required by law.”

But that morning there was an LCB fact sheet from August 2015 posted on the Legislature’s website that read:

“Because provisions governing the minimum wage rate are included in the Constitution, any changes to the minimum wage provisions require a constitutional amendment. There are two ways to amend the Constitution. One way is through the citizen initiative process. Citizen initiatives for constitutional amendments must be approved in identical form in two consecutive general elections. This is the process that enacted the current minimum wage requirements in the Constitution. The second way to amend the Constitution is through the legislative process. The Senate or Assembly may propose a constitutional amendment, which must pass in identical form with a majority of members of both houses in two consecutive biennial sessions. After that, the proposal must pass a popular vote during the next general election.”

By committee meeting time it had disappeared. Coincidence? The link now returns a 404 Error. But if you put the first sentence of the above fact sheet language into an Internet browser it will return to you a PDF titled: ”

Fact Sheet – 2015 Minimum Wage in Nevada

cached version of the list of LCB fact sheets online has a link to Minimum Wage in Nevada (August 2015), but that link also returns a 404 Error.

A little sleight of opinion? A little selective editing?

Most web archive and cache services also came up empty, but something called Old Home Page came up with this link. In case that too disappears here is a PDF: minimumwage


August 2015 LCB Fact Sheet excerpt

So, tell us again how the LCB “updated and confirmed” the research it did in 2015 and the current opinion is diametrically opposite of its 2015 opinion, which has conveniently disappeared.

Be that as it may, a 2014 Nevada Supreme Court opinion in a case specifically about the minimum wage law is still online. That opinion states: “If the Legislature could change the Constitution by ordinary enactment, ‘no longer would the Constitution be “superior paramount law, unchangeable by ordinary means.” It would be ‘on a level with ordinary legislative acts, and, like other acts … alterable when the legislature shall please to alter it.’ In this case, the principle of constitutional supremacy prevents the Nevada Legislature from creating exceptions to the rights and privileges protected by Nevada’s Constitution.”

The opinion also flatly stated: “It is fundamental to our federal, constitutional system of government that a state legislature “has not the power to enact any law conflicting with the federal constitution, the laws of congress, or the constitution of its particular State.”

67 comments on “Newspaper column: Minimum wage bill doesn’t pass constitutional muster

  1. Rincon says:

    Intrinsic in your view is the belief that cutting the wages of many of those earning minimum wage today would generate lots of jobs so that those who get jobs would do so at the expense of those on the bottom rung of the wage ladder. Is this correct?

  2. Bruce Feher says:

    If you’re making minimum wage and you’re over 21, look in the mirror!

  3. deleted says:

    If you’re paying minimum wage, and you’re over 21, look in the mirror.

  4. Rincon says:

    Succinct, Thomas, but merely an assertion and a false one at that. If raising the minimum wage would cost jobs as you’ve said it would, then lowering it should add jobs since raising it from the previous lower figure would have cost jobs – unless there’s something magical about the present figure. If it was lowered, the only losers would be the people who previously made the minimum wage unless you can find someone else. If there’s a hole in my logic, please point it out. Your answer of “no” sounds an awful like my grade school companions who argued that something was untrue because “that’s dumb”.

  5. Steve says:

    Tom’s point has been spelled out clearly, for decades.

    The market should decide the value of services performed.

    All the minimum wage does is make temporary changes, eventually everything adjusts and minimum wage supporters cry out for more increases but never enough to actually lift those people out of the job they are doing, only enough to keep them stuck right where they are.

    Every time it’s just like those insurance commercials where the dollar bill is on the fishing pole being constantly dropped down and pulled out of reach.

    So called minimum wages will never be “living wages” They will always be the bottom.

    But that doesn’t matter because liberals ensure more trapped people will be stuck on one or more welfare programs.

    It’s truly Ouroboros.

  6. Bill says:

    Generally speaking, raising the minimum wage will also result in a higher cost to the public for goods and services. Incease in cost of production will be passed on to the consumer. A lot of goods and service providers operate on small profit margins. It is not as if the average shop keeper or corner bodega is making the proprietors rich. Those providers will either increase the cost to the public or go out of business. Higher costs and less jobs? Personally I don’t care if a McDonald’s burger will cost $10.00 but some people do. Price fixing is evidently bad for everyone except the government. How has that generally worked out in countries where the government controls prices?

  7. I was going to reply that the market should set the price of labor, but Steve beat me to it.

  8. Analysis finds a $15 minimum wage would increase fast-food prices by 38 percent and reduce fast-food employment by 36 percent.

    Yep. Heritage again.

  9. Rincon says:

    As I’ve said before, I’ll believe what the Heritage Foundation says if you’ll believe what Greenpeace says. Deal? Their words are of equal validity.

    But I still don’t think you see my point. If a $15 minimum wage would raise prices and reduce employment, then why wouldn’t a reduction in the minimum wage decrease have the opposite effect?

    But since you cited Heritage Foundation again, here’s a little more about your trusted source:

    According to Dark Money, a whole bunch of Conservative think tanks sprang up primarily fueled by billionaire donations. The Heritage Foundation is at the top of the list. Other sources agree. Here are two:

    “The Scaife Foundations consist of a trio of foundations that had been directed by the late billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, whose wealth was inherited from the Mellon industrial, oil, aluminum and banking fortune.[1] The Scaife Foundations have provided millions of dollars in funding to right-wing organizations such as the Heritage Foundation, the American Legislative Exchange Council, the Cato Institute, and anti-immigrant and Islamophobic organizations such as the Center for Immigration Studies and the David Horowitz Freedom Center.[2]”

    “After the death of Richard Scaife in 2014, a significant portion of his assets were given to the foundations, increasing their value substantially. In addition, the Sarah Scaife and Carthage Foundation merged at the end of 2014,[3] making the Sarah Scaife Foundation one of the largest foundations focused on supporting right-wing causes. Its assets were expected to grow to some $800 million in 2015”

    “In 2012, the Heritage Foundation received $650,000 from the Claude R. Lambe Foundation, which was one of the Koch Family Foundations before it closed in 2013. The Lambe Foundation contributed at least $4.8 million to the Heritage Foundation between 1998 and 2012.

    In recent years, the Heritage Foundation has also received funding from Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund, including $53,300 in 2010 and $69,850 in 2012. The Koch brothers have donated millions of dollars to Donors Trust through the Knowledge and Progress Fund, and possibly other vehicles.”

    I’m not saying they are never correct, but the grossly misleading junk science coming out of this institution regarding climate change convinced me long ago that this is an organization with the sole mission of spreading Conservative propaganda. They routinely distort the truth. Given their funding, I understand why.

  10. Bill says:

    Rincon. Thank you for the financial history of “conservative” foundations. To be fair and balanced you might give us a history on the some 122 liberal foundations worth some 166.5 billion dollars which are separate and apart from the liberal PACs and money and manpower of organized labor. In the interest of fairness, you might give us more information on Soros, Heinz, Rockefeller Bros., Mott et. al. and some of the causes and candidates they support.

    If I may be permitted one final rhetorical question: Why do liberals insist on labeling alternative opinion as propaganda? biggest regret in life is that I am not a progressive liberal so that I would thereby know the immutable truthsss in this universe.

  11. deleted says:

    Yes Rincon M with Bill; why, instead of posting valuable information that would never otherwise see the light of day on pages of this libertarian blog, post more information that, if it existed and were damning, would surely find it’s way here at some point via some of the usual conservatives sources posted here?

    What kind of troublemaker are you?

  12. Steve says:

    Rincon falls back on one of standard moves, when the message cannot be “debunked” attack the messenger.

    Also tries to flay the course by distracting from the facts in the message.

    Playing with market forces has consequences. Allowing those forces to function is what makes stable economies.

    Participation trophies are the very symbol of minimum wage efforts.

  13. Rincon says:

    OK, Steve. Maybe you’ll find this more to your liking. Show me that it’s wrong without attacking the messenger:

    The proposal to increase the statewide minimum wage to $15 by 2021 will generate a series of benefits and
    costs for workers and businesses in New York State.
    The proposed policy would result in substantial benefits to low-wage workers and their families. As Cooper
    (2016) estimates, the policy will raise wages for 3.16 million workers by 2021. On average, for workers
    getting increases by 2021, their annual earnings will increase by 23.4 percent or $4,900.
    These large increases in pay will raise overall payroll costs in for-profit businesses by only 3.3 percent. This
    amount is surprisingly small because many businesses already pay more than $15 and because many of the
    workers who are now paid below $15 are already paid above $9, the current minimum wage.
    Businesses will absorb the additional 3.3 percent in payroll costs partly through savings on employee
    turnover costs, higher worker productivity gains, and some automation (the substitution effect). Most of
    the increase in costs will likely be passed on to consumers via increased prices. Since labor costs make up
    only about one-fourth of operating costs, consumer prices will increase only slightly—about 0.14 percent
    per year over the phase-in period.
    These higher prices by themselves would reduce consumer sales in New York by about 0.5 percent and
    reduce the demand for labor (the scale effect). But simultaneous positive effects on increased consumer
    spending from workers receiving wage increases will offset the scale and substitution effects.
    After taking into account all of these factors, we estimate that the proposed minimum wage policy would
    increase overall net employment (as a percent of total employment) in the state by 0.04 percent by 2021.
    This estimate is cumulative (and so will be spread over several the phase-in period). In comparison,
    employment in the state is projected to grow 1.37 percent annually in the same time period.
    In sum, it is possible for New York State to effect a vast improvement in living standards for over a third of
    its workforce without generating a net adverse employment effect. It can do so through induced efficiencies
    (more automation, productivity gains, turnover savings) and slight price increases borne by all consumers.
    Based on our analysis, we conclude that the proposed minimum wage will have its intended effects in
    improving incomes for low-wage workers. Any effects on employment and overall economic growth are
    likely to be small. The net impact of the policy will therefore be very positive.

  14. Rincon says:

    Plenty of propaganda on the liberal side too, Bill. The definition of propaganda says nothing about inaccurate information:

    1) Information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.

    So yes, the paid publicity of “alternative views” are often properly termed propaganda as it is standard practice to present information of a biased and misleading nature.

  15. Linda Sanders says:

    Thanks, Thomas, some very pertinent information.

    And don’t we just hate successful and wealthy people who advocate for their beliefs?

  16. Steve says:

    Guess we will have top wait at least 4 years to find out if the extensive UC Berkeley predictions pan out, huh?

    But I would say it is most likely that most New York wages would already have exceeded that minimum wage by then and there will be calls for increasing it again in about ten years…..


  17. deleted says:

    Don’t you guys that love for the rich to get richer, while everyone else suffers worry; the “real” minimum wage has actually fallen for the last near on 40 years since Reagan took over.

    Although productivity has risen (and in the Obama era, to historic levels) and employer profits have risen along with them, and the wealthiest Americans continue to see their income and wealth rise to historic levels, the minimum wage has actually DECREASED in real terms.

    So rest easy in the knowledge that those “poor” old business owners, paying minimum wage, are still able to exploit them…for even less now, than they did 40 years ago,

  18. “In the department of economy, an act, a habit, an institution, a law, gives birth not only to an effect, but to a series of effects. Of these effects, the first only is immediate; it manifests itself simultaneously with its cause — it is seen. The others unfold in succession — they are not seen: it is well for us, if they are foreseen.” — Bastiat

    We shall see.

  19. Rincon says:

    You missed the point, Steve. Questioning a source lies at the heart of intelligent discourse. If you don’t feel that is reasonable, stay tuned. I’ll find you some stories about the Bermuda Triangle, the Yeti, flying saucers, you name it.

    I have to agree, Thomas. 35 years after Reagan, we’re still seeing the effects.

  20. Steve says:

    I missed nothing, in fact you even missed a large piece of the predictive puzzle that link showed you.

    New York State is the second most expensive state to live in the USA.

    This makes any basis for a national minimum wage on this data set a farce on it’s face.

    And it appears Nevada’s minimum wage bill, if passed into law, will be going to the courts over the constitutional issue detailed in Tom’s column.

  21. […] She read the the entire section of the 2015 LCB fact sheet that began: “Because provisions governing the minimum wage rate are included in the Constitution, any changes to the minimum wage provisions require a constitutional amendment,” but for a while had disappeared from the legislative website but was reproduced on this blog. […]

  22. Rincon says:

    Try reading it slowly, Steve. Thomas said, “Analysis finds a $15 minimum wage would increase fast-food prices by 38 percent and reduce fast-food employment by 36 percent. “, while my source said, “The net impact of the policy will therefore be very positive.” Both were referring to raising the minimum wage to $15.00/hour and yet they disagree radically.

    Your words: “Rincon falls back on one of standard moves, when the message cannot be “debunked” attack the messenger.” If you don’t believe it’s valid to “attack the messenger”, then you must believe mine – and Thomas’. You either have to believe both messengers or admit that questioning the messenger is valid. Take your pick.

  23. Steve says:

    You, again, try to twist what Tom writes.

    It is simple.

    The market should decide the value of services.

    Every time wages are forced by external means, the rest of the market adjusts resulting in more forcing.
    This is precisely what is, now, occurring again.

    The sooner you true believers realize the folly of the lies you are being told, the sooner the country can start to talk again. But as long as people continue to believe the lies and propaganda, the country will continue to be at each others political throats.

    The minim wage will always the the bottom and the minimum wage will always have the purchasing power the bottom allows.
    If you continue to follow the path you are being told is the true and proper one you will see the minimum wage be 100 dollars an hour.

  24. Rincon says:

    Before Teddy Roosevelt and the nasty old government interfered, we had a situation where the market determined the price of labor and look what happened. Rockefeller remains the richest person who ever lived according to some sources. While he was enjoying his expensive hobby, many of his employees lived 12 to a room. I suppose you consider that to be a desirable state of affairs though.

    Many of those so called socialists in Europe, Japan, Iceland, Israel, South Korea, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Australia and New Zealand live longer than we do and so do their babies (we’re #31 these days So which is better, living longer and healthier or having a larger share of the world’s billionaires?

  25. Rincon says:

    From today’s news: “The researchers note that among rich countries, the U.S. has the highest maternal and child death rates, homicide rate and is the only high-income country without comprehensive health care.”

    Does it occur to anyone at all that maybe we have something to learn from other countries? Our attitude in this regard isn’t far removed from that of North Korea.

    BTW, many of the citizens that outlive us smoke more than we do!

  26. Steve says:

    And, the bottom still remains the minimum wage.

    Keep raising it and the bottom will be one hundred dollars an hour.

    At some point you will realize the bottom is where things begin and it is not possible to raise the bottom because the bottom always remains the bottom.

  27. […] for a while I felt like Jeremiah crying in the wilderness in pointing out that the state Legislature could not raise the minimum wage in Nevada, because the voters in 2006 […]

  28. Rincon says:

    I never said that the minimum wage was a good thing, but your alternative is ridiculous, since both history and current events in foreign countries prove that left to supply and demand alone, the lowest wages can drop to ridiculous extremes. This is mean spirited, especially when those who want to eliminate a minimum wage typically also want to abolish welfare and the rest of any safety net, but are very concerned that billionaires should continue to pay a lower tax rate than many wage earners. This attitude is much the opposite of Biblical teachings, but those same people often claim to be evangelical Christians. I call them cafeteria Christians or of course, hypocrites.

  29. Steve says:

    “but your alternative is ridiculous”

    I say only that the bottom should be the bottom.

    You take the discussion way off track and into several more left leaning talking points, for some reason.
    Maybe because they make raising the bottom wage seem, somehow, better?

    It still keeps those on the bottom, on the bottom.

  30. Rincon says:

    A no brainer, Steve. Would you rather be on the bottom making $7.25 or $15.00 (or $12 for that matter)?

  31. Steve says:

    No matter what wage is assigned to it, the bottom is always the bottom.
    I don’t want to be on the bottom no matter what the so called wage is, because it will never have any more spending power than the bottom.

  32. Rincon says:

    I’m out of my league. I’ve never been able to argue successfully against lunacy.

  33. Steve says:

    Ahh, the inevitable insult of defeat.

    Speaking of lunacy you said, with apparent sincerity, “Would you rather be on the bottom making $7.25 or $15.00 (or $12 for that matter)?”
    It doesn’t matter what the dollar amount is, there is only one bottom, Rincon.

  34. Rincon says:

    “It doesn’t matter what the dollar amount is…” “The bottom” in Switzerland is a far cry from “the bottom” in Sudan. Yeah, the dollar amount matters.

  35. Steve says:

    Doubling down on the lunacy, you now attempt to compare apples and kangaroos.

  36. Rincon says:

    “There is only one bottom.” Which means what? I find myself trying to infer the meaning of your obtuse statements and then having you tell me that my inference is wrong. It would be nice if you just stated your position clearly. I’m tired of it now. Have a good day.

  37. Steve says:

    And we reach the inevitable insult tactic.

    The bottom is the bottom, there is only one bottom.

    Unless you never did well in math, you should understand this.

    But, your insistence that raising the bottom will not effect the whole shows your lack of math skill.

    There, feel better, I returned an insult!

  38. Rincon says:

    “The bottom is the bottom, there is only one bottom.” That’s supposed to mean something? As I said, you don’t clearly state your position, even after I point out the ambiguity.

    “But, your insistence that raising the bottom will not effect the whole shows your lack of math skill.” On the contrary, every dollar put into the pocket of a minimum wager comes out of someone else’s pocket, but every dollar that does not go to low paid employees if there’s no minimum wage, also goes into someone else’s pocket – usually someone with far more wealth.

    My U of Cal post was only to show that the source is extremely important and nothing more.

  39. Steve says:

    It means exactly what it says. There is no other bottom, there is only one. And it does not matter what number you give it, it remains the bottom. There is no ambiguity, you invented a false equation.

    Every dollar you raise the bottom by, raises every other level. This results in ever more demands for increasing the bottom to try and keep up. Eventually, if you follow this illogical course, you will see a $100.00 per hour bottom……so we are going in that circle again.

  40. Bill says:

    Lots of good discussion with only a little bit of personal insults. I don’t mind insults if they appeal to wit and not just to witlessness.

    What I would be interested in are solid studies of what effects it has had in those cities where it has been tried. Seattle comes to mind.

    I suspect that a modest raise in the minimum wage might not do a lot of harm, and would probably help a few and hurt a few and in the final analysis not result in a lot of benefit or do a lot of harm. I suspect that it would kill some jobs. It will definitely have an impact on businesses such as restaurants and I would suppose that food markets that operate on a slim profit margin will further replace check out clerks with automated systems. An increase in the minimum wage will definitely impact the cost of most goods and services. Restaurants and other such businesses could well be hit hard so it might decrease incentives for opening businesses. It may provide incentives for automation thereby further decreasing jobs in some areas.

    Increasing the absolute wage bottom (yes, Rincon, Steve is right) will undoubtedly raise the cost of goods and services and perhaps have an inflationary effect thereby offsetting any gain in wages by the increased costs of goods and services.

    The real problem is that it is the government that is telling the market what to charge. That rarely works out well.

  41. Steve says:

    Field Engineers make more than minimum wage. Say good-buy to those minimum wage, entry level, counter jobs.

  42. Steve says:

    Check this out. Acknowledging they cannot raise min wage by leg action since it’s ensconced in the state constitution?
    Magic 8ball sez “all indications point to yes”

  43. Rincon says:

    I think I finally understand what you’re trying to say, Steve. Are you positing that if the minimum wage (MW) is raised, then some prices must rise (thanks to Bill)? This pressures other employers to pay their employees more due to a rising cost of living, AKA inflation. Is that right?

    Raising the MW to $15.00/hour is a bit much, but I don’t see the harm of bringing it up to the level it was in say, 1968 (adjusted for inflation). We’re twice as productive now as we were then, but we can’t afford the same MW as then? That’s hard to swallow. That being said, the MW is a hammer, not a scalpel. There are better ways, as I’ve specified previously.

  44. Steve says:

    Close, Rincon.
    As I made clear on the 20th:
    “Every time wages are forced by external means, the rest of the market adjusts resulting in more forcing.
    This is precisely what is, now, occurring again.”

    This cycle is easily seen in historic records.
    Raise the bottom and every other level raises, resulting in more demands to raise the bottom again. It is a never ending circle that provides only a very temporary lift to those on the bottom.

    Now, this is not to say LOCALITIES shouldn’t have a minimum wage, places like Vail CO, San Francisco, New York CITY (not the state) Boston and a few others need to force their low wage employers to compete in the LOCAL economy.
    This is happening in some of those cities, including Seattle. But even if it works in those LOCALITIES this does not mean it will work statewide and definitely not nationally.

  45. Steve says:

    And another thing, remember the .COM boom of the 90’s? Nearly 100% employment was forcing low wage employers to pay a lot more than the minimum wage of that time.

  46. Rincon says:

    Thank you Steve and I agree with you in part. If lettuce pickers were to suddenly gain a higher wage, then lettuce would become more expensive, and wage earners might indeed get a raise in pay eventually to offset the extra money earned by the pickers, but those who acquire their money through investments or who are particularly highly paid wouldn’t necessarily have their incomes rise as a result. This means that some income would be shifted from investors and highly paid individuals to the people farther down. It is true that inflation would be marginally higher as a result, but don’t the economists complain that inflation has been too low lately? Sounds OK to me, but hardly the perfect answer.

  47. Steve says:

    That’s funny, you think “lettuce pickers” are the picture of the minimum wage worker.

    Read this, then say good-buy to all those entry level jobs.

  48. Rincon says:

    You’re sounding like a Luddite, Steve. Workers have always felt threatened by machinery. The answer isn’t to pay unskilled people next to nothing. The answer is to have fewer unskilled people. Around our area for example, there has been a shortage with people having general handyman type skills for at least 30 years. The reason is the same problem many young people have in the job market: Everyone wants to hire those with experience, but you have to be hired by someone to gain experience. Catch 22. I know of no training for these skills in our area.

    Another example: A friend of mine owns a specialty pump factory and has always had trouble finding people able to run some of the more sophisticated machinery, so he offered to fund a program for the local high school to train interested students in the skills needed. The high school was not interested. This means that each year, there are students emerging from that school working minimum wage jobs that could have had jobs with good pay.

  49. Bill says:

    Rincon. I am not surprised that the local high school was not interested in starting such a program. The education monopoly have no real interest in having such programs because they have perpetrated the myth that “education” means an academic based college degree Training and educating a work force of skilled craftsmen is generally viewed with disdain by educators. Such schooling does not fit their model for what education should be. Such things as skilled machinists, mechanics, welders, etc., have no real place to go within our bloated educational bureaucracy.

  50. deleted says:

    Always amusing to hear from folks on the right who used to wail and whine that the only thing the public schools ought to teach were the 3 “Rs”leastways when liberals would suggest that education meant something more than the basics anyway, who now wail and whine that public schools don’t teach things outside of those same 3 “Rs” that they “feel” is important.

    Fact is, the conservatives won’t be happy until they don’t have to spend “their” money on anything but their next donut, and the rest of the world be damned.

  51. Steve says:

    Obviously, Rincon missed my earlier post about the Wendy’s story.
    Although this eliminates about 3000 entry level jobs by introducing technology in their place, I also stated Field Engineers earn way more then 15 an hour.
    Disclosure, I am a Field Tech in the IT industry. It pays rather well. Luddite….indeed.

    If those pump factory people had gone to a vocational school, they might have fared better.

  52. Steve says:

    Those Wendy’s stores should create about 90 good paying jobs for skilled labor.

    Not to mention the workers who build the equipment, write the software it runs and install the kiosks.

  53. Bill says:

    There are numerous jobs out there that offer good pay, good benefits and careers that don’t require a college education. This is especially true in the mineral exploration and mining businesses and their related activities. I worked closely for many years with such a company whose workers could earn six figures a year.

  54. Rincon says:

    We seem to agree that the U.S. educational system is woefully deficient in teaching many of the skills needed for jobs. What we may not agree about is how to go about training the millions of people presently untrained. Many are caught in the catch 22 of having financial responsibilities making it difficult to take time away from working for training. Many of those same people don’t have adequate financial resources to pay for training if they recently lost a job. We might want to plan ahead. When driverless vehicles become the norm, anyone who drives extensively for a living may find themselves at risk.

  55. Steve says:

    Severely curtailing H1-B visa’s would go a long way towards influencing potential employers in training our fellow countrypersons versus importing them for lower pay.

  56. Bill says:

    There are occasional private/public partnerships for such programs, some within the confines of the educational system. We obviously need more of such programs and we also need to take a serious look at our monopolistic public education system. Community colleges seem particularly suited for this type of activity and then we might have the auto and diesel mechanics that just aren’t out there now and don’t seem to be in the pipeline. I use the example of mechanics for the reason that several friends who operate such businesses are unable to obtain qualified workers and interestingly, the market gobbles up those qualified for good paying jobs. The same is true of emerging needs in this information/technology society. Currently, many of such jobs are being outsourced to countries because (a) they have the expertise and (b) they work cheaper.

    Ask any educator that you know or encounter, about what the educational system should be doing nd the will ultimately equate a “good education” to college. I have a college education and can’t fix anything.

    I must confess that I do hold some grudges. I have never forgiven my High School Literature teacher who caused me to develop a stammer because of my unwillingness to take reading Chaucer in old English seriously. In retrospect, I should have taken a shop class so that I might have learned how to fix something or a home ec class so I could learn to cook.

  57. Steve says:

    At least you had that choice back then, Bill.

    Shops were the best places for people like me. Small engines, cars, electronics and metal working all tied directly into math and algebra.

  58. Bill says:

    Not really. In those days a boy would not be permitted to take a home economics course and girls did not take shop classes. And, schools and teachers took the doctrine of in loco parentis seriously and did so without fear of being sued. Students had no rights, only duties.

  59. Rincon says:

    Germany has already showed us how. We just refuse to listen.

  60. Steve says:

    Germany is a much smaller country than the USA.
    And they have a huge export economy in the EU….

    Apples and kangaroos again.

  61. Rincon says:

    Wow, what a negative view! So you conclude that the methods the Germans are using for teaching can’t possibly apply here because we’re bigger than they are (four times as many people). Boy, that’s different. Does this logic apply to other things such as capitalism and democracy?

    You may be mixing cause and effect. Does it occur to you that perhaps they have an export economy BECAUSE of their trade school system? It seems clear to me that they probably wouldn’t have so many exports if they had a shortage of skilled workers the way we do.

  62. Steve says:

    I “conclude” nothing of the sort.

    Germany and the USA are not one and the same.

    While some things may transfer, most things will not.

    However, eliminating the H1-B visa would be a real source of incentive for our own industries to build their own talent…even from the current labor pool.

  63. Rincon says:

    When you say some things will transfer and others will not, it sounds just like what a politician says when he doesn’t really want to answer a question. Rather vague, don’t you agree?

    Eliminating the H1-B is a reasonable goal, but it is necessary in the short term, given the deficiencies we’ve noted in our training of our own citizens. M.D.’s come to mind. We still have a shortage of doctors despite the importation of vast numbers. Add lack of medical schools to the list of our failures in providing our citizens with training for high paying jobs.

  64. […] there were the bills to raise the minimum wage up to $15 an hour. Then there was the equal pay for equal work bill that would require employers […]

  65. […] there is Senate Bill 106, which would have raised the minimum wage employers must pay workers. Currently the minimum is […]

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