Michigan's minimum wage should not be raised to $15.
State Sen. Coleman Young II proposed a bill on Feb. 23 that would raise Michigan's minimum wage from $8.90 per hour to $15 per hour by the beginning of 2018, reports WZZM. While Coleman's heart is in the right place in proposing this bill, raising the minimum wage this drastically is a terrible idea that would, in fact, damage the lives of those that it is meant to help.
Coleman's bill has already been received with heavy skepticism, as it should have been. In a statement given by spokeswoman Wendy Block, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce expressed its opposition to the bill. According to WZZM, one of the main reasons cited in Block's statement was that "sometimes these proposals have the opposite effect of helping workers."
Block's assertion is indeed correct, which is why it is so important that this bill is not passed. While raising the minimum wage might seem like a good idea at first glance, doing so can actually have several negative effects.
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For example, raising the minimum wage often forces businesses to lay off their employees, resulting in higher rates of unemployment. In 2014, the Congressional Budget Office released a report on the effects of minimum wage increase on unemployment. The report estimated that increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $9 per hour would result in the loss of 100,000 jobs. Raising it to $10.10 per hour would result in the loss of a whopping 500,000 jobs.
Statistics like these show that raising the minimum wage at a drastic rate is an unwise decision because it can have harmful effects upon a community. However, this does not mean that the minimum wage should not be raised at all. According to Professor Robert Chambers, who teaches business at Endicott College, the best way to prevent the negative impacts of raising the minimum wage is to do so slowly.
"You don't want to shock the system," The Daily Caller reported Chambers saying. "You need to adjust the progress of this thing and measure the results."
With this logic in mind, Michigan should raise the minimum wage slowly, as lawmakers have already planned on doing. According to WZZM, Michigan already raised the minimum wage from $8.50 per hour to $8.90 per hour in January. Lawmakers plan to raise this figure again to $9.25 per hour at the beginning of 2018. In doing so, Michigan lawmakers have very obviously committed to raising the minimum wage, but in a responsible way.
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Michigan's current policies regarding the minimum wage are obviously well-thought-out and should not be changed. The commitment to raising the minimum wage slowly is clearly a wise decision that will hopefully prevent a rise in unemployment. Therefore, it is extremely clear that Michigan's lawmakers should hold firm and not raise the state's minimum wage to $15.