Editorial: Minimum wage hike will increase prices and crime

by Thomas Mitchell

Despite all the evidence that it will do more harm than good, a bill to raise the minimum wage in Nevada is still wending its way through the halls of the Legislature in Carson City.

Assembly Bill 456 would raise the minimum wage 75 cents per hour each year as it climbs from the current $7.25 per hour for those receiving company health insurance and $8.25 for those not insured until it reaches $11 or $12 per hour.

In his State of the State speech, Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak called for raising the minimum wage and declared, “It’s impossible for an individual, let alone a family, to live on $7.25 an hour,” ignoring the fact almost no one “lives” on minimum wage. Fewer than 3 percent of workers are paid the minimum wage and most of them are under age 25 and working part-time. Most are supplementing family income rather than being self-supporting.

In fact, raising the minimum wage often results in jobs being cut and/or working hours reduced. One study found the average low-wage worker in Seattle lost $125 a month because the minimum wage was raised to $15 an hour.

Now, a recent study released by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that raising the minimum wage can harm even those who are not being paid the minimum wage.

Using national crime data from 1998 to 2016, the study found “robust evidence that minimum wage hikes increase property crime arrests among teenagers and young adults ages 16- to-24, a population for whom minimum wages are likely to bind.”

The study projects that raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour nationally would result in approximately 231,000 additional property crimes, costing the nation $1.3 billion. Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would generate over 410,000 additional property crimes and $2.4 billion per year in additional crime costs.

“We conclude that increasing the minimum wage will at best be ineffective at deterring crime and at worst will have unintended consequences that increase property crime among young adults,” the study authors concluded. They said that previous studies that projected a decrease in crime due to raising the minimum wage ignored the possibility of hours being cut and jobs being lost.

Don’t ignore the costs imposed on everyone when the minimum wage is hiked. A Cato Institute analysis in 2012 found 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.”

The Congressional Budget Office in 2014 estimated that if the federal minimum wage were increased to $10.10 an hour — as proposed by President Obama and others — 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.

Without those entry level jobs younger Americans cannot build the skills needed to earn higher pay for a lifetime.

Still another Heritage 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.

It’s the immutable law of unintended consequences. Lawmakers should abandon their support for this bill, which would cause more harm than good.

A version of this editorial appeared this week in some of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel,  Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.

Source: Editorial: Minimum wage hike will increase prices and crime


Newspaper column: National Popular Vote would make Nevada voters “irrelevant”

by Thomas Mitchell

The Nevada Assembly voted 23-17 this past week to cut the impact of your presidential vote by at least a third.

Assembly Bill 186 would have Nevada join something called the “Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote.” Instead of awarding Nevada’s six electoral votes — one for each representative and senator in Congress — according to how Nevadans vote, those six electoral votes would be awarded to the president and vice president team that wins the popular vote nationally.

One could say this cuts the value of Nevada’s votes from six to four, since the votes nationwide would be proportional to population. Or one could say it negates our votes entirely since it matters not how we vote.

Not a single Assembly Republican voted for the bill and five Democrats had the good sense to reject this attempt to emasculate the federalist system on which this country was founded.

If only three state Senate Democrats have the temerity to buck their party leadership and reject AB186 it would fail.

An email to Gov. Steve Sisolak’s office asking whether he would sign or veto the bill should it pass did not garner a response.

Backers say the compact would become a reality if it is adopted by states possessing a combined 270 electoral votes, or a majority of the 538 electoral votes. A similar bill passed in Colorado earlier this year, giving the proposal 181 electoral votes, just 89 votes short of becoming binding.

A similar measure passed the Nevada Assembly in 2009 on a party-line vote but failed to come up for a vote in the state Senate.

The instigation for the current push is the fact that in 2016 Donald Trump won the Electoral College vote by 304 to 227, though Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 2.9 million.

If the National Popular Vote had been in force in 2000 Nevada’s then four electoral votes would have been enough to flip the election to Al Gore, even though George W. Bush won the popular vote in Nevada by 49.5 percent to 46 percent, winning every county except Clark. Bush won the electoral vote 271 to 266, but lost the popular vote by 540,000.

Janine Hansen, state president of the Nevada Families for Freedom, mentioned just such a scenario in testimony opposing AB186.

“There are three dangers I’d like to mention with the National Popular Vote,” Hansen testified. “One is the National Popular Vote will potentially betray the voters of our own state. If our state voted for candidate A and the National Popular Vote winner was candidate B, our votes would be stolen from our desire and given to the National Popular Vote winner, betraying the voters in this state. I think there would be a lot of angry voters if they found out that that’s what happened.”

Hansen also noted there is no national authority for determining the accuracy of the National Popular Vote.

In his testimony, Jim DeGraffenreid, vice chairman of the Nevada Republican Party, pointed out Nevada is currently a battleground state, getting significant attention from national candidates. He said the state’s first-in-the-West caucuses provide opportunities for all Nevadans to participate.

“The Electoral College exists because the Framers of the Constitution believed that each state should matter in selecting the president,” DeGraffenreid testified. “It is designed to protect the smaller states like Nevada. To suggest that a state should disregard its own voters and instead follow the will of voters in some other state is the exact opposite of what the Framers intended.”

He said the bill could make Nevada voters irrelevant.

The Founders created the Electoral College and the U.S. Senate to assure the smaller populated states were not relegated to powerlessness in a one person-one vote system. The states were meant to be sovereign and to hold the powers not specifically delegated to the federal government.

The National Review pointed out in a recent article that using 2016’s turnout stats a candidate could have won 54 percent of the vote in 48 states, losing only California, New York and D.C., but if an opponent won 75 percent of the vote in just those three locales, a 451 to 87 electoral vote landslide would have turned into a popular-vote defeat to 50.7 percent to 49.3 percent — even though the voters in 48 states rejected that candidate.

Should Nevada surrender its presidential votes to California and New York?

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.

Source: Newspaper column: National Popular Vote would make Nevada voters irrelevant


Editorial: An aspect of the Equality Act would erase social norms

by Thomas Mitchell

The Equality Act admirably sets out to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include “sexual orientation and gender identity” as protected from discrimination in public accommodations and employment.

It is sponsored in the House by all but one Democrat — including Nevada Reps. Dina Titus, Steven Horsford and Susie Lee. A companion bill in the Senate is sponsored by all but one Democrat — including Nevada Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jackie Rosen.

Unfortunately, the bill would curtail free speech rights, religious freedoms and gender privacy for the vast majority of Americans.

As the Heritage Foundation points out the Equality Act would force schools, churches, hospitals, businesses and others to accommodate anyone’s “chosen gender” instead of their actual “biological sex.” This would mean that females would be forced to share bathrooms, locker rooms and dormitories with males who “identify” as women.

It also would mean such males who “identify” as females would be allowed to compete in athletics against biological females, even though biological males tend to be faster and stronger than biological females.

There are already a number of cases across the nation in which males have won championships in various sports at the expense of actual women and girls. Might males snatch athletic scholarships from females? Is that equality?

Heritage further notes, “Medical professionals would be pressured to provide gender-affirming treatments like puberty blockers and hormones — these are irreversible decisions that have not been shown to help mental health while creating a litany of permanent physical health problems. Subjecting children to such radical procedures is even more dubious when one considers that 80 to 95 percent of children with gender dysphoria no longer feel distressed by their bodies after puberty.”

Julia Beck of the liberal Women’s Liberation Front has declared that as written the Equality Act is a violation of basic human rights. “Every person in the country will lose our right to single sex sports, shelters, grants and loans. … We will no longer be able to distinguish between women and men,” she argues.

Beck testified before a House committee that the Equality Act would require admitting male rapists into female prisons, males would have to be allowed into shelters for abused women, men could dominate women’s sports and much more.

Beck told the committee she had no problem with protecting against discrimination due to sexual orientation, but asked that the gender identity portion be struck.

Gender is immutable. It is fundamental down to the chromosomes. To declare otherwise is delusional. To force the vast majority to surrender modesty and safety for the sake of accommodating a tiny deluded minority is just wrong. Separate accommodations for those with gender dysphoria, perhaps, but not access to properly gender segregated facilities and activities.

Our representatives in the House and Senate should rethink this drastic reshaping of social norms.

A version of this editorial appeared this week in some of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel,  Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.

Source: Editorial: An aspect of the Equality Act would erase social norms


Victor Joecks: Gun debate shows what government can’t do

By Victor Joecks ~ Special to the Pahrump Valley Times ~ April 5, 2019 – 7:00 am

New gun laws from Carson City are going to make life harder for the wrong people.

Legislative Democrats have been aggressively pushing gun control. On Monday, the Assembly and Senate Judiciary committees held a joint hearing on Assembly Bill 291. It would ban bump stocks and allow local governments to pass additional restrictions on firearms. This comes after Democrats rushed through a bill expanding background checks to private party sales during the second week of the session.

The language of AB291 is so broad that it would ban common firearm modifications, such as trigger pull adjustments, and even ban polishing certain parts of weapons. The bill’s sponsor, Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui, D-Las Vegas, said during the hearing that she’d be willing to limit the ban solely to bump stocks. Assuming she makes those changes, that’s a good thing.

Some local government officials are eager to impose additional restrictions on firearm ownership, too.

“Without the ability to pass stronger laws to keep guns out of the hands of those who should not have them, all of our counties are vulnerable to further acts of gun violence,” former Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani said.

Underlying this belief are two assumptions. First, that guns and gun accessories are inherently dangerous. Second, that government can pass laws to reduce the access criminals have to firearms.

There are problems with both of these presumptions. A gun can kill someone, but so can a car, knife or pillow. It’s not the object itself that commits violence. It’s the person using it.

For instance, on Oct. 1, 2017, an evil man used semiautomatic rifles fitted with bump stocks to kill 58 people in Las Vegas. Jauregui survived that horrific attack.

On Oct. 5, 2017, a man attempted to kidnap a young boy in Las Vegas. Justin Pearson, legally carrying a Heckler & Koch VP9 pistol, used the threat of his weapon to break up the kidnapping.

In one situation, a person using a firearm took an innocent life. In the other, he helped save a life. The variable was the person — not the presence of a firearm.

If AB291 had been in effect, Clark County could have passed a law preventing Pearson from carrying his weapon. But this is the limitation of passing laws. They affect only the law-abiding. It was illegal for the Oct. 1 killer to murder. He did it anyway. Kidnapping is illegal. The man Pearson stopped tried it anyway. The only one the law would have stopped is Pearson — the person who used his firearm for good.

With this in mind, even the bump stock ban looks like little more than window dressing. You can simulate the action of a bump stock with a rubber band or stick.

If passing a law was enough to keep people safe, there’d be no reason to restrict guns. It’s precisely because criminals don’t follow the law that legislators shouldn’t restrict the ability of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves.

Victor Joecks is a columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

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Victor Joecks: Gun debate shows what government can’t do