Income inequality is a global issue that is extremely relevant in Michigan. To give you some context, here are a few facts.
1). Michigan is ranked #9 in terms of the worst states for income equality. In 2015, Michigan was ranked 11, showing a worsened state of income inequality
2). In 2015, the top 1% of Michigan’s earners made about 22x more than the bottom 99%
3). In the years between 1979-2007, members of the 1% enjoyed a 100% income increase while the other 99% faced a 0.2% income decline
4). 82% of all global wealth created this past year went to the 1%
This issue can be broken down into a variety of different issues. One of the most concerning issues in the world of income inequality is gender wage disparity. An article on Business Insider that provides a number of concerning statistics reports that, “Women are the big losers in the global economy, often trapped in the worst jobs, frequently because they are providing vital unpaid care to their families and communities.” Specifically in Michigan, the state is ranked as one of the worst for gender pay disparities. Annual median earnings of all full-time women in the state are about $12,738 less than men, and in 2014 women made about 74.6 cents on the dollar compared to men. An article on the Michigan League for Public Policy lists out a few solutions…
1). Increase the state minimum wage
2). Create a fairer income tax
3). Improve education in order to create future income payoffs
4). Increase the popularity of paid leave
While all of these solutions could hypothetically work to level off the gender wage disparity, it is safe to assume that all members of the Caucus understand that this is easier said than done. With this in mind, I ask a few questions…
1). Honing in on some research, why do you think women have historically earned less than men not only in Michigan, but across the country?
2). Why is Michigan ranked among the worst in gender pay disparity? Is it a policy issue? A cultural issue?
3). What do you see as the most viable solution to narrow this gap?