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Michigan Dems out to lunch
July 22, 2009 - Steve Murch
Talk about out of touch. The Michigan Democratic Party might just have redefined that phrase. According to an Associated Press story, the MDP is considering (and mind you it is just a consideration) an attempt to put a proposal on the November 2010 ballot to raise the state's minimum wage to $10 an hour. It would be the highest wage in the country. In addition, the Dems want to increase unemployment benefits and require all employers to provide health coverage.
Sure, the economy has to recover by November 2010, even in Michigan, right? But holy smokes, $10 an hour? What is Mark Brewer, state party chair, thinking?
In the AP story, Brewer said the proposals would aim to protect residents during tough economic times. The first question is: how do you protect residents when employers have to cut staffing levels because they can't afford to pay employees $10 an hour?
There are only two ways to create additional revenue, which is what will be needed to pay for those $10-an-hour jobs. One is to increase sales volume and the other is to increase prices. Well, in hard times it's hard to create additional sales, and no one is can afford higher prices if they don't have jobs.
Michigan isn't the most business-friendly state there is and this could only add fuel to the fire that is the competition to lure businesses. What business is going to relocate or build in Michigan when it can pay more than $2 less per hour for employees somewhere else? The only thing raising the minimum wage that high would protect would be Michigan's stranglehold on the title of the state with the highest unemployment rate. Of course those people would feel more secure because they'd have higher unemployment benefits.
The health coverage idea is one that is understandable. A. it's the “sexy” issue of the moment and something needs to be done. However, Forcing a mom and pop store that has a handful of employees is going to drive that store out of business. Small businesses like aren't given the same kind of coverage rates as those businesses that have many employees and can negotiate better rates.
It's time Brewer and the other Dems remember that GM and Chrysler, two of the companies that helped to put Michigan on the map, were a whisper from going under THIS YEAR. Let's get our state's economy stable and pointed in the right direction before we make outlandish proposals. We need to bring new business to Michigan, business that will stick around for generations and provide a good working wage for people. They won't do that if they will see there employees' wage go up by a third.
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