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Michigan Legislature Needs to Raise Minimum Wage

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The American way of life is being threatened. A NASA study shows increasing income inequality could lead to the fall of our industrial civilization as we know it [1]. CEOs make more and more while workers make less and less. In fact, CEO pay has increased by 937% since 1978 while pay for workers has only increased by 10.2% [2].

To make matters worse, thanks to Governor Snyder and the GOP, Michigan is now a right-to-work state. States that do not have right-to-work laws are paid 15.8% higher wages on average [3].

An increasing number of workers in the U.S., including the highly educated, are forced to survive partially on SNAP benefits (food stamps), so corporate executives can make more money. No worker working full-time hours should have to live on government assistance programs.

There are solutions.

The wealthy must pay their share of taxes. President Trump wants to cut taxes for big business and the wealthy [4]. However, corporate tax cuts do not benefit the middle class. They do not add jobs [4]. For every dollar that is cut in corporate taxes, only 32 cents is added to the economy [4]. For every dollar not cut and spent on infrastructure, $1.44 is added to the economy [4].

The minimum wage should be increased for all Michigan workers to a living wage. Michigan Senate Bill 185, currently sitting in the Senate Government Operations Committee of which Arlan Meekhof chairs, would increase Michigan's minimum wage to $15.00/hour.

We must invest in clean energy. Renewable energy jobs are growing rapidly [5]. We can clean the planet, gain energy independence, and generate more jobs by investing more in renewable energy infrastructure.

The U.S. must drop out of NAFTA, CAFTA, and PNTR. These trade deals are moving U.S. jobs overseas, causing reduced bargaining power and, therefore, a decrease in wages in the U.S. [6].

We need universal healthcare for all. Americans should not have to choose between going to the doctor and paying rent.

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William holds a BBA from Western Michigan University and a Master of Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School.

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