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Rick Snyder's Michigan - The Fast Food State

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This is how much a cheeseburger costs — so what’s your problem?

Last week brought the news that Michigan, which had the fifth-worst unemployment rate among states when Republican Gov. Rick Snyder took office, is now third-worst. As is typical, Gov. Snyder had no response, other than hiding behind taxpayer-funded, campaign-style videos flush with “happy talk.”

But reality should be far more troubling, for Snyder and for his campaign. His own Michigan Economic Development Corporation, when it isn’t spending our tax dollars on political ads or reporting inflated jobs numbers, put out a report indicating that Michigan’s jobless comeback won’t catch up to the national recovery for at least another decade.

Also included in that report was data showing that Michigan’s fastest-growing industry is fast food. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it also indicated that Michigan’s fastest-growing occupation is fast food worker.

Outside Snyder’s bubble, facts show that Michigan’s unemployment rate shot up over the summer, Pure Michigan’s peak tourism season, and was stubbornly stuck at 9 percent in September and October.

But back inside Snyder’s bubble, it was all good.

Inside the bubble, as unemployment spiked up, the governor and his longtime ally Rich Baird were quietly handing out massive raises to top Treasury Department officials, nearly doubling one’s salary to $333,000 annually — more than the governor and lieutenant governor’s salary, combined.

This disclosure came the same week the governor was asked if he supported a modest increase in Michigan’s minimum wage, and declined to stand up for so many Michiganians who work hard and just want to be able to earn a decent living for themselves and their families.

Republican Gov. Snyder simply said that raising Michigan’s minimum wage wasn’t a “significant issue,” choosing to ignore the thousands of hardworking families who would be lifted by the move, and our state’s struggling economy.

Snyder’s $1.8 billion tax cut for wealthy special interests didn’t create any jobs. His policies have done nothing to help the schools that have closed since he cut $2 billion from our community public schools. And his wrong priorities have hammered seniors living on a fixed income, homeowners and Michigan families already struggling to get ahead.

It’s time to replace Gov. Snyder with leaders who realize that while a change in the minimum wage may not be “significant” to him or his political cronies, it makes all the difference in the world to many Michigan families.

It’s time to elect leadership who will get our economy moving and strengthen our schools and communities. It’s time to do what’s right for families and our economy, and help out the workers who are struggling in Rick Snyder’s Michigan.

Joshua Pugh
Josh Pugh is director of communications for the Michigan Democratic Party. An experienced writer, researcher, new media professional and field organizer, he has worked on electoral and fundraising campaigns at the local, state, and national level. He is passionate about baseball, social media, freshwater policy, cities, education, and the arts.