Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

[Raise] Wages against the [corporate] machine: Michigan campaign to raise minimum pay

4. January 2006 • David Boyle
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Since not only Donald Trump has the right to make money, activists including Ryan Bates have been busy setting up websites to campaign to raise the minimum wage in Michigan for all us non-Trumpies, including Michigan ACORN: Minimum Wage Center, and a weblog to discuss the issue, “Michigan ACORN Minimum Wage Campaign” blog. (Click links to connect)

Give that man a raise. (Not Trump)

The effort looks good so far; and out of little ACORNs, mighty oaks may grow…

  1. Locally, the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice is also on board with this campaign, and urging local faith communities to honor Martin Luther King Day by talking about worker rights and wage issues.

    No full-time workers should live in poverty, and caring for our lowest-paid and most vulnterable community members is a both a moral and religious issue.
       —Chuck    Jan. 4 '06 - 09:12PM    #
  2. No full-time workers should live in poverty

    I agree, but I’m skeptical that the minimum wage is the right way to help. Most of the people who make minimum wage aren’t poor (they’re teenagers who aren’t self-supporting), and most of the working poor don’t make minimum wage (they make a few bucks an hour more than that).

    So I’d much rather see an expansion of the earned-income tax credit—which specifically targets families who are struggling to support themselves with low wage jobs (even ones paying above minimum).
       —mw    Jan. 5 '06 - 10:46AM    #
  3. Actually, according to ACORN, 70% of Michigan minimum-wage workers are adults, and 40% are the sole breadwinner in their household. The minimum wage does directly impact hundred of thousands of adult low-wage workers.

    Also, a recent Gallup Poll finds that “vast majority of Americans say they favor congressional legislation to raise the minimum wage.”

    I agree that raising the minimum wage alone will not solve the problem of poverty in Michigan, but it is part of a comprehensive solution that includes investing in education, sound tax policies, and a sensible health care system.
       —Chuck    Jan. 5 '06 - 11:16AM    #
  4. As far as the earned income tax credit goes, there are some problems with it, though the two strategies can go hand in hand.

    The first issue with EITC is that, in general, low-income families lack the access to proper accounting that they need to utilize the EITC fully (if at all). On paper, it looks great, however, in reality, far fewer families are helped than could be.

    The second problem is that when living paycheck to paycheck, it generally hopes more to get a little bit more with each paycheck than to get a lump sum at a certain time. For example, if you’re having trouble paying your heating bills in January, it doesn’t help much that your EITC money is going to be coming in May or June.

    You can look at the EITC and minimum wage as a combined approach. For example, if you raise the minimum wage to about seven dollars, and include the EITC at current levels, then a family of three supporting itself on a minimum wage job gets in the neighborhood of the poverty line (14,000/yr for a family of three. though, we should remember that the poverty level is grossly under-estimated in this country).

    Neither EITC nor minimum wage is perfect. We have to address the issue of poverty from a number of directions.
       —Bates    Jan. 5 '06 - 11:58AM    #
  5. The first issue with EITC is that, in general, low-income families lack the access to proper accounting that they need to utilize the EITC fully (if at all). On paper, it looks great, however, in reality, far fewer families are helped than could be.

    The second problem is that when living paycheck to paycheck, it generally hopes more to get a little bit more with each paycheck than to get a lump sum at a certain time. For example, if you’re having trouble paying your heating bills in January, it doesn’t help much that your EITC money is going to be coming in May or June.

    Those are good points. The EITC ought to be more automatic than it is. It should, for example, be included in each paycheck (based on the number of earners and dependents in the household) rather than paid in a lump sum.

    The advantage over the minimum wage is that we don’t subsidize non-needy workers (teenagers, adult college students, well-off retirees trying to stay busy), and we do subsidize poor, but above minimum wage workers who are supporting families.

    At the same time, we also don’t price some low-skill, low productivity workers out of the job market entirely (a job plus EITC benefit is much better than no job) or give employers a financial incentive to replace low-wage employees with a smaller number of more preductive, higher-wage employees or investments in automation (pay-at-the-pump, u-Scan checkout lanes, etc).

    I will agree, though that politically, the prospects for raising the minimum wage on a state-by-state basis are much better, unfortunately, than expanding the federal EITC.
       —mw    Jan. 5 '06 - 01:40PM    #
  6. The prospects for raising the minimum wage in Michigan look really good. Polls show that an overwhelming majority of voters support it.
       —David Cahill    Jan. 7 '06 - 11:23AM    #
  7. hello jack ass i think that they should lower the kid law and let them work at a young age u no put some back bone into it


       —zero    Mar. 13 '06 - 04:35PM    #