Why, Michigan, why?

I’ll be back with more Exodus later, but in the meantime, a headline caught my eye and I was incensed…

Young adults in Michigan may make less than minimum wage–a proposal

WHAT??!

I have lived in Michigan my entire life and up until the last decade or so I never really gave much thought to leaving. But, as much as I love my home state, I have recently began to seriously question if this is the right place for my young family. I don’t know what’s going on and I do realize that a lot of economic problems we are having here are also seen at the national level, but Michigan’s political landscape SUCKS.

So we have an older generation that complains that “kids these days” are spoiled, entitled, and don’t want to work. Yet, the cost of college has increased by an incredible 1,120% over the past 30 years. I don’t think the kids are responsible for that. The cost of everything has skyrocketed. There are some eighteen-year-olds who get their own apartments, pay for their own food and other living expenses. So we’re going to tell them they will only get paid 85% of what older workers get paid??? Will they only be required to do 85% of the work? Will they still have the full amount of taxes taken from their income???

Michigan’s politicians on both sides of the aisle have continuously come up with stupid proposals that are designed to kick the small guy when he is already down. Luckily my fellow Michiganders saw through the most recent Proposal 1 in May which was allegedly supposed to raise money to improve our AWFUL roads by raising taxes. I was actually incensed by the proposal and was glad that others felt the same way. Whenever I get a paycheck I am always amazed by how much money I never see. I would have NO problem if I saw some REAL advancement taking place here. The schools are a mess, our infrastructure is a mess, what are our representatives doing with the tax dollars they already get from us???

The Driver’s Responsibility Fee, which basically enables Michigan to punish people for speeding tickets and other driving infractions TWICE, was NOT a deterrent for bad drivers. Nope. Instead, what happened was that people who got a measly speeding ticket but could not pay the additional money ended up with suspended licenses, which required more fees and occasional court appearances that may have cost them time off from work. Instead of paying some dumb fee in addition to the required fees for the ticket itself, a lot of lower-income people drove with suspended licenses. Then they got caught, and ended up having to spend more money they did not have. As people stated, the Driver’s Responsibility Fee was nothing more than a money-grab done by the state. At the end of the day people are STILL going to occasionally speed, and unless it is egregious or they have multiple infractions, I don’t see why it is necessary to take their license away and tell them they cannot drive to work.  Or even better, the same thing can happen that has happened to me–you send in your fee and they claim they either A) didn’t receive it or B) didn’t receive it on time, and suspend your license anyway. Then, don’t tell you the payment was not received on time and that your license is suspended, and let you drive until you get pulled over and get the unpleasant surprise that your license is invalid.

There are other issues I can talk about–the “right to work” mess, the educational system garbage…sigh. It is no wonder that educated young people typically leave Michigan in droves after they graduate. What in the world would be the reason to stay?? Seriously the only reason my husband and I haven’t looked to where the grass might be greener is because neither of us wants to leave our parents. As I have said before my dad has significant health issues. I do want to be here for him.

As for this proposal here, the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, claims that it’s usually small local businesses that give young people their first jobs, and since those businesses don’t tend to make as much as big-box stores, perhaps this decreased wage would be an incentive for those small businesses to hire younger people. Problem is, I wonder if O’Brien is looking OUTSIDE of Portage. When I was younger, there weren’t that many small businesses with hiring needs. We were usually hired as cashiers at Target, Meijer and other stores, or in restaurants, as lifeguards, day care workers, etc. I just wonder what research she did to come to that conclusion. I can promise her that most young people in the area in which I live are not employed by small businesses. According to her, “there’s very few employers who will hire a 15, 16 or 17-year-old”.

What??

Has she never been to a fast-food restaurant and saw who was taking her order? To the movies and saw who was sweeping errant popcorn kernels off the floor? To the mall and saw who was stocking merchandise at Forever 21? If not, I am sure it is because what we have seen at a national level–older people have had to take on low-paying jobs that were originally thought of as sufficient for a younger person because the high-paying jobs simply were not present. So now are they going to have a more difficult time finding a job, then they might not be paid as much as an older person for doing the same work. Are we going to look for more ways to screw young people and send them running to another state??? What about kids who are teen parents, or people like my husband who helped his family with their bills? What about kids who are trying to contribute to their college education? Basically, what about those kids who do not come from families with two parents and a stable income? Way to take care of our younger people, Michigan!

If the older people, and I count myself in that group since I am 33 and have kids, are going to continue to make life harder economically for kids, then stop complaining about their actions. And Rep. O’Brien needs some type of reality check. My favorite comment from that article came from UAW Legislative Coordinator Tim Hughes, who said, “I don’t see any reason for telling somebody who can serve their country in the military or vote that they should be paid 90 cents less”.

I will pray and hopefully calm down, but in the meantime Rep. O’Brien needs to take several seats for coming up with this, particularly when Michigan has bigger problems to tend to.

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