There is a ballot initiative to make it illegal to work in Arizona for less than $6.75 an hour. The idea is quite popular because higher wages are popular. No one likes the idea that someone can work hard, play by the rules, and still be poor.
But a minimum wage law is a threat to voluntary exchange between consenting adults.
If an employee voluntarily agrees to work for $5 an hour, and the employer volunteers to pay, they both benefit or they wouldn't do it. They don't threaten each other.
While the minimum wage law denies people the chance to work voluntarily for $5 an hour, it does allow people to work for nothing. When someone agrees to work for $0 an hour, it is called "volunteer" work. Volunteer work is usually considered noble and virtuous.
The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), one of the driving forces behind Proposition 202, loves volunteer workers. It asks people to volunteer to contact elected officials, raise money, host events and gather signatures.
Either ACORN isn't very good at math or it isn't as concerned about workers as it pretends. Working for $0 an hour is less than working for $5 an hour. Maybe we should make volunteering illegal too.
Ken Schoolland is an Associate Professor of Economics and Political Science at Hawaii Pacific University and member of the Board of Directors of the International Society for Individual Liberty (ISIL). He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.