You Can’t Minimum Wage Your Way to a Better Life

Recently I was approached by someone asking me to sign a petition to raise the minimum wage in Michigan. People can’t live on minimum wage. To fix this many think we should raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. If you disagree, people think you don’t care. I do not support raising the minimum wage. And I do care. You cannot minimum wage your way to a better life.

You Can’t Minimum Wage Your Way to a Better Life: Should we Raise the Minimum Wage in Michigan?

Why can’t people make it on minimum wage?

Rent is too highThe rental market in Grand Rapids is so hot right now that some areas have gone up by 20% in the last year, according to Zillow.

Car insurance is too high. Michigan has the highest auto insurance rates in the country.

Gas prices are too high. Michigan has the 6th highest gas tax in the country.

The cost of an education is too high.

There aren’t enough good paying jobs.

You have to have a college degree for jobs that shouldn’t take a degree to do.

But, we aren’t talking about minimum wage here anyway. Only about 1% of the population makes minimum wage. We are talking about people who are struggling to make a living on less than $15 an hour. Someone has picked $15 an hour as the set point for “a living wage”.

When I got my first job the minimum wage was $3.25, my first apartment was around $200 a month and gas was $.89 a gallon. Now minimum wage in Michigan is $9.25, average rent for an apartment in Grand Rapids is $1016 and gas is around $2.89 a gallon (depending on the day). Minimum wage has nearly tripled but people still can’t make a living on it.

The problem isn’t the wage; it’s how much it costs to live!

What will raising minimum wage do to Michigan’s economy?

We will lose jobs. If employers are paying more per employee, we will lose businesses and jobs. Why should businesses pay more for employees when they can go elsewhere? In addition, they may turn more jobs over to automation rather than pay the high price of wages.

It will result in inflation. Everything in our economy is based on supply and demand. When the government manipulates this, businesses will adjust prices to offset the cost of paying their employees. We can tell a business to pay employees more but we can’t stop them from them from raising their prices or scaling back their workforce.

It’s unfair. It’s unfair to workers. Now all of a sudden anyone making $15 an hour will be making the same as people who may have no job skills or work experience. Perhaps they worked hard to move up in their company and now they are making the same as someone making minimum wage.

What can we do to help workers make a wage they can live on?

Reduce the red tape and change the tax laws so that our housing market matches demand, and rent goes down!

Get rid of no-fault insurance in Michigan so that people can afford car insurance.

Lower the gas tax in Michigan so that people can afford to drive in Michigan.

Improve the business climate in Michigan so we have more companies thriving and creating jobs in Michigan.

Change the way we run our schools and colleges. We spend far too much time pushing and financing the college-education lie. Young adults are in over their heads in student loan debt because they were told if they went to college they would get a good job. We need to rethink our education system. Bring education back to basics and create opportunities for our graduates to get jobs in fields where they can actually make a living.

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