Kevin Glass

The minimum wage debate is raging not just in the United States, but around the world. Many governments in Western Europe have higher minimum wages than the U.S. Switzerland is one that doesn't have a minimum wage at all - but will soon vote to implement the highest minimum wage in the entire world:

Introducing the world's highest minimum wage would hurt Switzerland's competitiveness and lead to job cuts, harming precisely those low-income workers it is designed to help, the Swiss government said on Tuesday.

Swiss voters will decide in a popular vote on May 18 if they want to introduce a minimum wage of 22 Swiss francs ($24.73)an hour, or 4,000 francs a month, much higher than in other countries.

In Switzerland, any proposal can get on a public referendum if it collects enough signatures. That's what has happened on the minimum wage, and the Swiss government itself is vehemently against this minimum wage.

In the absence of a minimum wage, Switzerland has the highest wages of any country already:

Switzerland already has the highest average monthly wage in Europe, which was $7,765.5 in 2011, according to UN data.

The fair pay sentiment that has swept through Europe has gained traction in Switzerland, where this year they have already held two referendums on limiting executive pay and ‘golden parachutes’.

Many blame bankers for the financial crisis, for building up speculative investment bubbles and not contributing to the real economy. Anger surged when some of the biggest banks, like UBS, continued to pay bosses big bonuses while simultaneously reporting massive losses.

Populism en masse is to thank for Switzerland's massive minimum wage proposal. The country is also considering implementing a "Universal Basic Income," which would pay Swiss citizens cash no matter what - work or no work. Lest you think that this is just an example of crazy European socialists doing crazy European socialist things, the Heritage Foundation finds that Switzerland leads the United States when it comes to economic freedom.


Kevin Glass

Kevin Glass is the Managing Editor of Townhall.com. Follow him on Twitter at @kevinwglass.