Obama Fires Up UM Crowd

By: Jason Colthorp Email
By: Jason Colthorp Email
Some business owners not as wild about his minimum wage hike as he is.

President Barack Obama

"We can give America the shaft or we can give it a raise."

President Barack Obama on the UM campus Wednesday pushing for a higher minimum wage to the ones who can certainly use it-- college kids.

"This bill wouldn't just raise wages for minimum wage workers, but 28 million American workers-- a million of them right here in Michigan."

The concern remains-- will it hurt the businesses paying those wages?

"I don't think it'll have too much of an effect," said DeArron Haygood, manager of The M Den in Ann Arbor. "I think it'll be much needed for the employees who work around here."

His employee agrees.

"When I started out I was managing a small kitchen making $7.40 an hour," said Jake Robideau. "I barely had enough money for food and to pay the rent."

The President is right there with them.

"Raising the minimum wage isn't going to solve all of our economic challenges," he said. "But nobody who works full time should be raising their family in poverty... should be unable to pay the rent."

While some can handle a minimum wage hike, other businesses-- long-standing businesses-- worry this could put them under fire good.

"A lot of businesses have gone out of business already," noted Bill Loy.

Loy has owned the Campus Student Bike Shop for 50 years and worries that such a big wage hike will have the opposite effect-- higher

"It's going to be more laid off (workers) because bike shops are a seasonal business," Loy said. "(I'm) just going to have to pay less (to employees) to make ends meet because the economy is so bad."

But the President is trying to sell the fact that that's not necessarily the case.

"Higher wages and higher profits do not have to be mutually exclusive," Obama said. "They can go hand in hand."

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