Yesterday, Republicans raised Michigan’s minimum wage to $8.15 an hour. Governor Rick Snyder is Republican and the Michigan legislature is dominated by Republicans. Yesterday's Labor Day pay raise was marked by disappointment on all sides.
Democrats want the minimum wage raised even more. The argument from Democrats is summed up by Yannet Lathrop with the Michigan League for Public Policy. She stated, “There’s a lot more work that needs to be done on raising wages to make them more of a living wage.” Those on the side of Lathrop want the minimum wage to be a living wage.
For Michigan, raising the minimum wage to a “living wage” would mean paying the lowest paid worker in the state with one child at least $18.33 per hour. The living wage for a single adult, however is $8.73. This means in a “living wage” Michigan two people doing the exact same job could be paid drastically different wages per hour, according to the Living Wage Calculator for Michigan.
For example, if a person with no children worked next to a person with one child, at the end of a 40 hour workweek the childless worker would be paid $349.20 before deductions while the parent would be paid $733.20. What would this do for morale? Does the Michigan League for Public Policy want Michigan companies paying workers based on their family situation? Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act prohibits discriminating against workers based on “familial status.” Paying Michigan workers a “living wage” would require companies to violate the civil rights of single workers with no children. Is that really what the Michigan League for Public Policy wants?
Gilda Z. Jacobs from raisemichigan.com stated, “Raising the wage would reduce the state’s poverty rate, decrease reliance on state assistance and boost local economies.” Oakland County Independent Examiner will track the results to see if Jacobs’ predictions come true now that the wage has increased.”
Interestingly, Michigan’s jobless rate is the third highest in the United States, according to the Detroit Free Press. Despite Lansing’s edicts, Michigan’s minimum wage remains $0.00 per hour. A higher priority for the state is creating jobs, not merely raising the wage of those who already have a job.
Why not figure out how to increase the employment rate? Then the hourly rate will take care of itself.