Why are these millennials smiling? Because they left Michigan a few years ago.
You don't have to look to far to find anxieties about Michigan's ability to attract and retain young adults. A few articles from just this year have such gloomy headlines as "Millennials And Money: Keeping Young People In Michigan
," "Michigan struggling to attract millennials
," and "Young talent still leaving Michigan
What's the problem with Michigan's young? For a lot of folks, especially the younger folks fleeing Michigan as if it were on fire, it's that Michigan's leaders talk a good game about retaining young people, but really don't give them what they want. We've said it before, but, briefly:
Millennials love cities: Lansing strips them of revenue-sharing and sics emergency managers on them. Millennials favor public mass transit: Lansing, through MDOT, pushes for multibillion-dollar freeway expansions instead of rail. Millennials supported gay marriage 3 to 1: Lansing made sure Michigan was among the last states to grudgingly affirm marriage equality. Millennials believe overwhelmingly in gender equality: Lansing's Republican leaders banned two female legislators who dared use the word "vagina" on the floor. Millennials support a woman's right to choose: Lansing passed a law prohibiting insurance companies from selling policies that include abortion coverage as a standard feature. Millennials overwhelmingly are opposed to the War on Drugs and favor legal marijuana: Lansing's drug warrior attorney general Bill Schuette is a man NORML national director Allen St. Pierre said "may be most single most anti-marijuana attorney general in the country.
And it's not just us firebrands at Metro Times
saying this: A similar take appeared this year in the business-friendly Detroit News
. It quoted Leon Drolet, chair of the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance, as saying:
All young people hear is their state fighting over stuff they feel is antiquated. Changing the status quo is hard work and it takes time. [Millennials] can stay and work to try to overcome it, or move someplace that suits them better.
Naturally, we'd like to not be the most quickly aging state in the country, and we'd love the good energy young people bring to government and business, but there's one other thing raising a stiff middle finger at millennials: If they stay, their earnings will suffer.
That's right, a new report from Business Insider
shows that, when it comes to median annual earnings for millennials, Michigan is fifth from rock-bottom. $19,300 a year.
Now that's a great message to send to young adults you'd like to court: If you think you hate our politics, wait until you see your paycheck!