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The latest debate between political rivals in Nevada revolves around minimum wage income earners. Minimum wage workers are unable to support themselves, let alone their families, with their current pay. Rep. Jacky Rosen wants to raise minimum wage to improve the quality of life of Nevada’s workers.

Nevada Rep. Jacky Rosen wants to raise the minimum to $15. Her political opponent, Sen. Dean Heller, wants to abolish the federal minimum wage and let states each determine their own minimum wage. Rep. Rosen argues that as a career politician, current Republican Sen. Dean Heller is out of touch with the current situation in Nevada. He does not understand the struggle of families trying to survive on such a minimal income. Rep. Rosen hosted a roundtable discussion so she could hear more about those living on minimal wages. Current minimum wage earners in Nevada are pleading that the minimum be raised in order to provide them with enough money to be able to simply make ends meet.

To abolish minimum wage would be disastrous. There are already not enough jobs in Nevada. It is wrong to assume that the state would willingly set a livable minimum wage when competition for employment is so fierce. Instead of getting rid of a federal mandatory wage, politicians instead need to raise the minimum to a livable amount.

Right now the minimum legal wage in Nevada is $7.25 per hour for jobs with health benefits, and $8.25 per hour for jobs without such benefits. With such low wages and no health benefits, workers are at a complete disadvantage if anything should happen to their health. Raising the minimum wage isn’t just about paying people enough to pay their bills, but improving their quality of life by offering more of a “safety net” in case something should go wrong.

Last year, the state had 883,000 workers seeking out a living on minimum wages. According to the Economic Policy Institute, increasing the legal minimum wage to $15 an hour would benefit 314,000 workers in Nevada. By increasing the minimum wage, the workers of Nevada would earn enough to support themselves and improve their standard of living. After all, in the words of Rep. Jacky Rosen, “It’s important that we treat everyone with the dignity and decency that they deserve, and part of that is having a livable wage”.