Increase the minimum wage to $120 an hour

In Democrats’ world, you can have your cake, eat it and not gain an ounce from the extra calories.

That’s the level of nuance Democrats brought to a discussion Monday on Senate Bill 106, which would increase Nevada’s minimum wage by 75 cents an hour up to $12 an hour for employers not offering health insurance.

Bill presenters Sens. Aaron Ford, D-Las Vegas, and Yvanna Cancela, D-Las Vegas, claim Nevada could raise the minimum wage without hurting the economy or killing jobs.

“Gradually increasing the minimum wage will put hundreds of millions into the pockets of Nevadans who then will spend money on basic necessities,” Cancela said. “That’s hundreds of millions of dollars going back into the economy in the form of goods and services consumed.”

Ford, the Senate Majority Leader, then cited an article on Arizona raising its minimum wage to $10 an hour on Jan. 1.

“It states that since the onset of the minimum wage increase and the paid sick-leave policy, they have seen increases in activities at restaurants,” said Ford. “There has not been the decrease and laying off and things of that sort that were projected by the naysayers.”

If we can raise the minimum wage without trade-offs, let’s blow past the living wage and get to a living-in-luxury wage.

But the problems with Democrats’ assertions are clearly seen when followed to their logical conclusions. It’s why liberals are left with the absurdity of saying, “We must raise the minimum wage — but not too much.”

A look at Nevada’s economy shows why SB106 is unnecessary. Cancela said Nevada has 1.2 million workers, and 20,000 make the minimum wage or less. That’s 1 in 60 workers.

So why are 59 out of 60 workers making more than the government-mandated minimum? Because as a worker’s skills increase, so does his or her pay. Most minimum-wage workers earn a raise within their first year of employment, and entry-level jobs are key to moving up the economic ladder.

“Astonishingly, 90 percent of the managers and the upper-level management in the restaurant industry started out as servers in the industry,” said Warren Hardy, a lobbyist for the Nevada Restaurant Association. “The advancement there is absolutely incredible. Our concern is the impact it will have the entry-level job.”

The best path to a job paying $12-an-hour is an $11-an-hour job. The best way to get that is a $10-an-hour job and so on.

Raising the minimum wage takes away those opportunities from the ones who need them most.

Victor Joecks’ column appears in the Nevada section each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Contact him at vjoecks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.

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