Why I won’t vote for Sisolak
October 24, 2018
In an opinion column in last Wednesday's Appeal Anne Macquarie explained why she was going to vote in the governor's race for Steve Sisolak over Adam Laxalt, the Republican candidate. Sisolak's concerns, she told her readers, were jobs and education. She also pointed out Sisolak had more experience — 10 years as a County Commissioner in Clark County (Las Vegas), versus four years as Attorney General for Laxalt. Well yes, numerically, she's right — 10 is more than 4. But in terms of preparation for the governor's job, Attorney General is more useful experience than serving on a county commission.
She then explained Laxalt isn't as committed to jobs, citing his opposition to an increase in the minimum wage. Anyone with the slightest familiarity with increased minimum wage laws knows they're frequently not beneficial to employees. In fact, where minimum wages have been increased (Seattle, for example), they have frequently resulted in reduced job numbers for the simple reason companies have to balance the books somewhere. So if the government says "pay more per hour," businesses reply "ok, but we'll pay fewer employees." The law of unintended consequences makes increased minimum wage a two-edged sword.
The writer also maintains Las Vegas saw an increase in employment during Sisolak's tenure. That misses the obvious point that just about everywhere in America has seen increased employment during the Trump years. Sisolak can take credit for supporting the arrival of sports teams in Las Vegas, but he can't take credit for Trump policies that have resulted in higher employment nationwide.
The issue of education, for which Sisolak is touted as a better choice than Laxalt, is not easy to parse. Democrats generally think they're improving education if they throw more money at it: last week's opinion column informs us Sisolak will "advocate for better salaries for teachers. . ." That will likely result in more teachers voting for him, but it's not a given that more funding always means better education. Some well-funded school districts in America don't do as well academically as other poorly funded school districts. There's some anecdotal correlation that might well have to do with the fact children of wealthy parents (who generally live in well funded school districts) do better because they have advantages at home, like a more stable family life, parents who read books, and parental goal-setting. But if Sisolak thinks more funding automatically translates into better student results, that's not a certainty.
The writer of last week's column doesn't tell her readers what is almost surely her most important reason for voting for Sisolak: he's a Democrat. There was a time not so long ago when that wouldn't have convinced many Nevada voters, but with the changing demographics of the Las Vegas area and the strength of the Harry Reid machine, it becomes a stronger argument. I'm surprised she passed up the chance to tell her readers that.
Last week's opinion column concludes with the news Sisolak will visit Carson City for the Nevada Day parade. It did not say whether or not he would ride a horse in that parade, as politicians often do. We will be watching.
New thought: in last week's column I said I would vote NO on four of the six ballot questions. I planned to vote YES on questions two and four, but on further reflection I have concluded tax carve-outs for selected groups are a bad idea, as other groups will then ask for special treatment. I will vote NO on all six questions and urge readers to do likewise.
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