State Representative Phil Potvin is known for saying dumb things. So it is no surprise that his answer to 7&4 News reporter Nathan Edward’s questions on raising the minimum wage left a lot to be desired. Edwards asked Potvin how much the cost of living would have to increase before he would consider voting for an increase in the minimum wage. Potvin said the employee can increase the minimum wage by “working better, by working faster, by putting out more product for your employer.” He went on to say you have to “stay with the employer for more than 15 minutes.” See his comments below at the 1:54 mark.
One of several problems with Representative Potvin’s statement is that worker productivity does not equal higher wages anymore. According to research by the Economic Policy Institute, worker productivity has increased 23 percent since the year 2000 while wages have remained flat. This trend may have began as far back as 1973.
It should also be noted that Potvin took over his family business, that had been in existence since 1946, and that business is now closed. Potvin landed on his feet though and was able to donate $25,000 of his own money to his successful State House campaign. Now he makes $71,000 a year working for the fourth highest paid legislature in the country. Meanwhile, Michigan has the 21st highest minimum wage. I guess that proves state legislators are working harder and smarter than the rest of us.