Are The Swiss Going Crazy? $25 Minimum Wage Referendum In May

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Pater Tenebrarum of Acting-Man blog,

Most of our readers probably know what we think of minimum wages, but let us briefly recapitulate: there is neither a sensible economic, nor a sensible ethical argument supporting the idea.

Let us look at the economic side of things first: for one thing, the law of supply and demand is not magically suspended when it comes to the price of labor. Price it too high, and not the entire supply will be taken up. Rising unemployment inevitably results.

However, there is also a different way of formulating the argument: the price of labor must not exceed what the market can bear. In order to understand what this actually means, imagine just for the sake of argument a world without money. Such a world is not realistic of course, as without money prices the modern economy could not exist. However, what we want to get at is this: workers can ultimately only be paid with what is actually produced.

As Mises has pointed out, most so-called pro-labor legislation was only introduced after enough capital per worker was invested to make the payment of higher wages possible – usually, the market had already adjusted wages accordingly.

However, unskilled labor increasingly gets priced out of the market anyway, which is where the ethical argument comes in. If a worker cannot produce more than X amount of  goods or services, it is not possible to pay him X+Y for his work. Under minimum wage legislation he is condemned to remain unemployed, even if he is willing to work for less.

In Switzerland, the unions have recently managed to get the demand for minimum wage legislation on one of the quarterly referendums in the country. An interesting point has been brought up by one of the opponents in the course of the debate, but first a little background information:

“Jasmin Eicher has already axed her sole full-time employee to keep afloat her shop selling cards, candles and paper in a Zurich suburb. If Switzerland approves what would be the world’s highest minimum wage, she says the only option would be to close her door.


The Swiss will vote in a national referendum May 18 on whether to create a minimum wage of 22 francs ($25) per hour, or 4,000 francs a month. While about 90 percent of workers in Switzerland already earn more than that, employers say setting Switzerland’s first national wage floor would push up salaries throughout the economy. When adjusted for currency and purchasing power, it would be the highest minimum in the world.


“We couldn’t pay it,” said Eicher, standing behind the counter in her shop in Schlieren. The employee she let go earned 3,500 francs a month. Now she’s by herself, working 10 hours a day, six days a week, and her hopes of hiring a cheaper helper would be dashed if the proposal passed.


“Of course I understand about people not earning enough, but not everyone is worth 4,000 francs. Here in Switzerland we’re already so well-off,” she said.


The chief backers of the proposal are Switzerland’s biggest trade unions, which argue that pay levels need to reflect the country’s prices – among the world’s highest.”




George Sheldon, professor of economics at the University of Basel, said the Swiss proposal would be counterproductive.


“Unemployment among the unskilled is increasing,” he said in a phone interview. “The solution to their problem can’t be to make them more expensive.”

(emphasis added)

So, 90% of all employees are already paid more than the proposed minimum wage. It turns out that virtually all the biggest companies pay salaries above what would be the world's highest minimum wage – but that is not the main problem.


Who Would Lose Out?

The point we actually wanted to get at is touched upon in the following excerpts:

“Despite being home to multinational corporations such as KitKat-candy-maker Nestle SA and drugmaker Novartis AG, Switzerland gets two-thirds of its employment from small and medium-sized enterprises.


The Association of Swiss Cleaning Companies, Allpura, opposes the minimum wage, saying it would lead to job cuts and worse working conditions. It says employees in the sector earn between 18.50 francs and 26.50 francs per hour.


Big companies including Nestle, Novartis and Swatch Group AG are against the measure too, saying it will hurt the economy.


“State intervention in the liberal economic system also goes against the market economy principles of our society that have been so successful to date,” Novartis spokesman Dermot Doherty said via e-mail.


At Nestle, the wages of all Swiss employees are above the proposed minimum, spokesman Philippe Aeschlimann said. “A higher cost of labor would however affect companies in our supply chain and our Swiss customers,” he said via e-mail.




“A minimum wage won’t stop poverty,” Economy Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann said at a press conference in Bern in February. “This new system could be counterproductive.”


According to Boris Zuercher, head of the Employment Directorate at the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, the uniform wage would get passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices and will ultimately result in job losses among low-wage earners. Workers earning between 4,000 and 6,000 francs a month — 40 percent of the full-time workforce — will seek higher pay too, he said.


“The main criticism is that it’s an enormously high minimum wage — it would be the highest internationally,” Zuercher said, speaking by phone from Bern. “It’s not a question of Novartis or UBS not being able to afford to pay 4,000 francs, but some little company in a remote valley.”


By contrast, the Swiss Federation of Labor Unions says a minimum wage wouldn’t lead to higher unemployment because it would mostly affect domestically-oriented sectors where outsourcing isn’t possible.”

(emphasis added)

The first salient point is the fact that once this new minimum wage law is introduced, upward pressure on all wages would likely ensue. Note in this context that Switzerland is awash in newly created deposit money due to the ministrations of the SNB, which is manipulating the Swiss franc's exchange rate (a few charts on Swiss monetary inflation over recent years can be seen in our article 'How Safe is the Swiss Franc?'. The article is slightly dated, but it still serves to illustrate the point). So there is no brake on prices and wages due to  a lack of money supply inflation – rather the opposite. Naturally, wages would not be the only thing rising under these circumstances – prices would be adjusted accordingly, and in the end the purchasing power of the higher wages would not be greater than before.

The second important point is the one about which enterprises would suffer the most on account of such legislation. When the union official cynically comments that 'only businesses that cannot be outsourced will be hit' (i.e., those who cannot vote with their feet and simply flee), he forgets to mention that small and medium-sized companies as a rule cannot 'outsource' their operations either, almost regardless of what they are producing. We felt reminded of something a friend of ours mentioned to us recently: “The problem of today's form of capitalism is that there are not enough capitalists:”

Indeed, an individual entrepreneur running a small business has a very difficult life already, as every new imposition is much harder to overcome for a small business than it is for a large corporation. This is also why we often find that big corporations don't resist new regulations: they reckon they are likely to keep competition from upstarts at bay. It is laudable that several big Swiss corporations are evidently not following this trend.

If Swiss voters agree to introducing a new minimum wage law, they would end up doing incalculable damage to Switzerland's entrepreneurial culture. At the moment, Switzerland is still one of the freest economies in the world. It has been extremely successful so far and its achievements would clearly be put at risk. Hopefully Switzerland's voters won't be swayed by union's arguments.

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Rican's picture

And everyone gets a sweet new army knife (if you like your existing knife, you can keep it).

Anusocracy's picture

Wasn't it back in the 70s that the Swiss gave the vote to a bunch of socialists?

knukles's picture

Hallo, mai name is Mohhmaned.  Would you like a porcine slurpie?  Ett ees only $25.
Teeee heee he 


Have you any idea what this is going to cost me to get my bug out cave outside of Gstaad cleaned weekly, now?

James_Cole's picture

While about 90 percent of workers in Switzerland already earn more than that

Yet, somehow Switzerland is still a bang up place to live.. What the fuck Peter!!

Manthong's picture

Um.. ok.. so how far is Zurich from the swirling tower of Basel and then to Brussels.. and what part of that proximity is difficult to understand?

oh.. I absolutely love that area and there are a few banker stooges I would like to have very intimate pleasant, conversation with in a dark alley there..

(it would be pleasant for me.. maybe not so much for the others involved)

flacon's picture

Better stock up on Jarlsberg. How long does it last buried underground? Can I pack it in with some silver to take care of the mould?

Manthong's picture

probably best to have a cellar in the valley..

get down at least 3 meters and have the concrete (conduit to earth) at least .5 meters thick.

keep your gold and ammo down there too.

.. for a k Euro or so I can send you info on how to cap your bunker and do the air re-circ.

..that's a joke.. :-) it would cost you a whole bunch more for official advice on how to secure your cheese.

Wolferl's picture

Wow, is this the new "Zerohedge for the 1%" section? Makes you think.

Flakmeister's picture

You do realize that Jarlsberg is Norwegian?

While Norway has no minimum wage, there are national norms negiotiated by labor, management and gubbmint...

Fastfood places pay ~$16-24 per hour depending on age....

flacon's picture

Ha! I did not know it was Norwegian. Thanks for that. 


Here in Canada we have something called Canadian Swiss cheese - which tastes similar but doesn't have the bubbles-holes. 



max2205's picture

Wow the Swiss are making the USA look like a bunch of cotton pickers...the IMF needs to confiscate there money and send it to West Virgina damn it

El Oregonian's picture

Dang, for $25.00 an hour they must have just as many holes in their heads as with their swiss cheese... I mean, they'll have to get $50.00 a Pound to survive! In this economy, who's going to pay $85.00 for a chunk of cheese?

SwissCake's picture

Expect a 60/40 against, or more.


We actually already have "minimum wages", or conventions, in two thirds the sectors of the economy negociated between unions and owners. They usually are around 3.8k or something.


This initiative comes from the frustration of the unions tnot being able to cover the last third of the sectors (not productive enough to demand this kind of earnings), and not having the strongest leverage out there. In order to do that they're ready to screw a system that has worked extremely well for so long. It won't pass.

Ghordius's picture

agree, it won't pass. though the last one, the 1:12 remuneration initiative had a very slim chance, didn't it?

SwissCake's picture

Yeah and it got turned down by 65%. This one may be a bit more dangerous though but I can hardly see more than 40% in favor. Lots of common sense and good education among the folks.


Funny result in the last survey shows that the folks making between 3.5 and 4.5k are actually in majority against the proposal for fear of losing their jobs. The bulk of people in favor are those 7-10k people from the left side of the spectrum (privileged public servants in other words).

Ratscam's picture

I love incentives.
Why not detax the income up to 48K (12x4K), it would result in more income for a worker in the amount of 4.6K tax savings per annum, more money for the people to spend on goods!

Ketsa's picture

1:12 was designed to fail. It was so stupid.

If they wanted something to pas they would have said 1:24 or 1:50 or even 1:100.


Then every time there's a scandal or a crisis, reduce the ceiling.

SwissCake's picture

Absolutely, beyond acceptance or rejection the adamant goal of those is to use this plateform as a marketing tool for elections, for an initiative like 1:12 the socialists are able to monopolize the micro and promote their fairness and social justice. Populism, if you like. In that prospective it's still a win.

willwork4food's picture

Better yet, Virginia. We got beaches bitches!

rubiconsolutions's picture

Here's what I want to know: What if someone is willing to work for less than the minimum wage? Would they and their employer be breaking the law if they negotiated a private employment contract for less than some mandated minimum? The answer of course if yes because in Switzerland and the US there is no such thing as a private employment contract. The government has to know exactly what the employer is paying the employee so that the employer can play surrogate tax collector.

PT's picture

Yeah, what if someone is willing to work for a bowl of gruel and a bed on the factory floor?  

"Please sir, can I have some less?"

rubiconsolutions's picture

The point is that all, ALL employment contracts should be private and unencumbered by government interference. If a guy who owns a small shop on Main Street in some little town in middle America wants to hire a kid to sweep floors and take out the trash but can only pay him or her $5 per hour he should be able to do so. The fact that government interferes with the relationship probably means that the kid is stuck without any income when he could be making something. And if the shop owner decides to hire the kid and pay him under the table and is caught doing so he'll be prosecuted out of business. It's lose-lose.

PT's picture

Fair enough.  Let the little people do what they like.  But there comes a point where people work to live and they need protection.  The free-market minimum wage is a bowl of rice / gruel on the factory floor with the company owner swearing "there is no better way because he has no more customers".  And don't say that the workers can make more by working harder / smarter / faster.  You double productivity and your minimum wage is double the minimum i.e. two bowls of gruel and two beds on the factory floor!  Knock yourself out!  Go to town and swap your second bowl of gruel for a bowl of rice!  But if your minimum wage job involves operating a machine that lets one man do the job of a hundred, how do you produce twice as much?


Speaking of customers, the "non-minimum wage" countries thrive by selling to the "minimum wage" countries.  Without us they have no rich customers.  In a "fair" economy, the workers are the customers.  How can it possibly be fair to produce what you yourself cannot afford to consume? A pay rise is not just an increased cost.  It is increased purchasing power.

The part Peter Schiff (and everyone else on the video) forgot was that he was implying that a doubling of the minimum wage would only result in a 15% price inflation.  Or, look at it from the opposite direction - Walmart workers have a 50% pay cut so Walmart customers can have a 15% price discount.  Whoopee doo!  Barguns here I cum!  But to take it one step further, who shops at Walmart?  Minimum wage workers?  So if costs went up by 15% but customers pay packets doubled, what do you think really happens to demand?  Oh, but production can't keep up so we get useless inflation instead of increased production.  Really?  We're running at 100% capacity right now?  Tell this guy:

(Actually, I read his book because I didn't believe him.  I wanted to see his argument about deflation.  Basically he said that there is way too much productive capacity in the world and this would drive prices lower.  I always figure that TPTB would find a way to make prices rise anyway but I'll let you decide the result.  The take-away here is his assertion that there is too much productive capacity in the world).

Regardless, we have plenty of unemployed people.  If companies are making a profit then they can afford to increase production and they have the labour there ready to go.  How did they make a profit?  By having richer customers?  Where did the richer customers come from?  Fuck!  Someone must have paid them more!  What if they don't bother producing more and just pocket the extra cash or put up prices?  Well doesn't that make room for a new entrepreneur to enter the market?  Who's the new entrepreneur?  The rich worker who can't buy anything or the hungry worker eating a bowl of gruel each day and no profit what-so-ever?

Oh!, no, no, no PT, you don't get it.  The rich worker is lazy and the hungry worker will suddenly acquire capital because he is more motivated!!!  Yeah that's it!  Don't you remember all them cotton-picking slaves that went on to become wealthy multi-national entrepreneurs?  Don't you remember all the starving Ethiopians who are now wealthy corporates?   Let me dig up up or two success stories that totally obliterate your 100 million exceptions to the rule!  Sure, Gates and Jobs started in their parents garages, but imagine how wealthy they would have become if only their parents didn't even have a garage!!!  Haven't you heard?  There's two classes of people - lazy workers who don't deserve anything and are a drain on the economy, and hard-working entrepreneurs who deserve every cent they ever paid someone else to work for them!  Yeah! That's it!

No, in a closed economy, a minimum wage means guaranteed customers. Zero minimum wage means your "potential customers"' s wages is a bowl of rice / gruel on the factory floor.  I guess you could sell them a i-pad in exchange for a grain of rice per day for the next two years.  Of course, in a globalized economy we have geographic wage arbitrage - buy from the poor workers and sell to the rich workers, so increased wages can (will?) lead to more jobs shipped overseas and fewer rich customers!  Gee, I wonder what happens next?

But let us take a step back.  I doubt I have convinced anyone of anything from the above and it is still only a sideshow to the main attraction.

1.  In the time it took my wages to increase by 40% (due to investment of time and acquisition of a more productive skill set i.e. not everyone got that increase ), THE PRICE OF REAL ESTATE INCREASED BY 400%.  Oh but that won't hurt the economy at all - supply and demand and all that shit.  Look! See!  We're still going strong.  No way will a little 400% increase in the price of residential real estate or commercial real estate will hurt anything - anyway, have you tried renting?  Sharing?  Sharing the rent? ... BUT NO WAY CAN THE ECONOMY WITHSTAND THE ONSLAUGHT OF A POOFTEENTH OF A PERCENT PAY RISE TO MINIMUM WAGE WORKERS!!!!!  We'll all go broke I tell yiz!  But don't worry about the price of real estate.  It doesn't matter that it affects the price of where the worker lives, the prices at the supermarkets, the prices for every retailer, the price of all industry.  It doesn't matter that what you spend on second-hand housing can't be re-spent on repairing that second hand, dilapidated house.  Noooooooooooooo, won't affect the economy at all!  Just don't expect a minimum wage!

2.  Actually, money spent on housing can be re-spent!  You just borrow it back again!  And let the fweeeeeee markits decide how much money to lend.  No-one would deliberately lend money that couldn't be paid back, would they?  Even if they did, they would go broke and be replaced by a responsible lender, wouldn't they?  No way would they use their temporary huge profits to buy all the competing businesses, ummmm, becoz, becoz, and anyway this is a capitalist society so no-one will get bailed out ever and if they do then that is no reason for you to be bailed out too because if your banker was a communist doesn't mean you should also be a communist and anyway minimum pay rises damage the economy real bad but if people use their pay-rise money to borrow even more money then no way does that borrowed money hurt the economy at all becoz the fwee markits will sort it out and pay no attention to the bailouts behind the curtain.

The prices of real estate and debt makes us uncompetitive before we even think about anything else.

TPTB derive most of their wealth from debt and real estate.  The propaganda machine will continue to justify / ignore TPTBs theft mechanisms.  

Minimum wage rises won't achieve anything if wreckless debt is still competing against money earnt from labour.


The Profit Prophet's picture

Good post. The libertarian hoard who frequent this site don't understand why capitalism worked up until 30 years ago...that the workers were participating in the wealth gains of capitalism. Now that this has stopped due to shifting our productive capacity off shore to cheap labor pools in the name of higher capital gains for shareholders...capitalism has been in crisis mode...unable to support itself. In fact, we no longer have capitalism...we have corporate socialism. Cheaper labor is only good for one class of people...the Oligarch class who own the large small shop owners will soon go bankrupt from a lack of customers who can afford their products...which is happening as we speak.

NihilistZero's picture

I've been saying for a while that the Randian, noble capitalist version of libertarianisim touted by many here is a fantasy of greater magnitude than any of the religions in history.  The very fact that .gov creates the markets for products through protection of patents and other enforcment mechanisims justifys their intervention on behalf of workers. 

In an anarchist sytem the Real Estate barons would be dead in the water as the cost of paying for private protection of their assets would outweigh the profit they could draw.  Without .gov Microsoft could NEVER afford to enforce their patents.  Without government use of force on behalf of the oligarchy the cost to protect most industries profits would render them unworkable.  You'd still have innovation as there are more than enough altruistic scientists and innovators whose only "profit motive" is to help their fellow man.  Class distinction is exclusivly a creation of government.  Take away the monopoly of legitimate force from .gov and you have a prosporus mankind beyond imagination.

eddiebe's picture

Next time could you say all that with fewer words?

PT's picture

Excellent suggestion eddiebe, but I was on a roll.

Cathartes Aura's picture

and a most enjoyable roll that was, perfect add to my morning coffee. . .

the "long hand" version works for me, some of us like our rants expanded rather than twitted.

stoking that fire.

NihilistZero's picture

Your post should be stickied by the Tyler's.  Totally concise deconstruction of the Libertopia fantasy.  I'm saddened it won't be read as much as it should on this holiday weekend.

Oscar Mayer's picture

Finally, someone who actually understands economics! 

Good job PT

rubiconsolutions's picture

How about attacking the real problem which is the fact that central banks and their fiat money coupled with fractional reserve banking constantly erodes the value of our currency. It doesn't matter what they raise the minimum wage to because inflation is going to steadily eat away at the value. So next year it will have to be raised again....and again....and again. Pretty soon the minimum wage will be $100 an hour and a loaf of bread will be $200. People never want to discuss the root causes, only suggest ways to treat the symptoms. Under the present economic construct - fiat money and fractional reserve banking - there will never ever be a sustainable wage.

Sean7k's picture

You want a free market for wages only? Should we not end ALL governmental interference, including corporate welfare, the miltary industrial complex, education, medicine ad infinitum? Why is our legal tender unconstitutional in every way? Oh yeah, and direct taxation as it is not proportional. 

You either tear it all down or deal with the zionist/iluminati nexus.

Just as it has proven impossible to fashion a labor theory of value, it is impossible to use economic theory in a world that runs on the manipulation of law and power for the benefit of a few.

Tom_333's picture

That was Sweden you moron. Try to understand that there is a world outside the U.S. I have lived in both countries...and the U.S. as well. There´s a big difference between Sweden and Switzerland.

Steaming_Wookie_Doo's picture

Neutral, arms dealers, meh--what's the difference? /sarc

Sweden is more homogenous, blond and a shorter growing season, but lovely berries and wild game. I'd work in either if I had the chance.

holmes's picture

I'd clean the bathrooms in the local McDonalds for $25 an hour.

Manthong's picture

..there's a roadstop halfway between Zurich and Montreaux.

I'd wipe the bathrooms with my tongue to get that kind of money and live in that area.

ok.. maybe not.. but it made me think about it. 

Manthong's picture

On second thought.. If I could keep that rental 5 series benz and drive up and down the auto/bahn/route but even have to lick roadstop bathrooms clean and live in a hole in the ground.. I am good with that.

.. gosh.. that's not right.

Manthong's picture

Aw geez, mr. red vote..

I’m one of the good guys..

Licking roadstop bathroom seats clean in Switzerland is greatly better than living with oobama or hitlery.

Manthong's picture

OK dudes.. if you have not done > 220 clicks/hr on the autobahn in a fine benz through the alps then you do not understand the value proposition of gratefully licking rest stop toilet seats.

I only wish I could share the vibes.

walküre's picture

topped out at 280 clicks/hr with a friend's Audi A8

totally surreal

willwork4food's picture

I topped out @ 81mph in my 350 Ford work van on I 95 in northern Illinois during the fall..


Urban Redneck's picture

You understand the POVERTY line is about CHF 50,000, and the median income is about CHF 100,000.  CHF 22/hr doesn't go very far, you would have a better standard of living on most other developed countries FSA handouts.  


(daily bus pass chf 20, 1 kg crappy steak chf 70, going 14.9 mph over the speed limit in town CHF 730, it adds up real quick)

Tinky's picture

While there is no doubt that Switzerland is expensive, your examples are nonsense. Day passes in Zurich, for example, are sold based on zones, and begin at 5 CHF.

Tom_333's picture

But they have that kinda of money....they´re good for it.

Urban Redneck's picture

A 2-zone day pass (and downtown Zurch or Wintethur are double zones) is CHF 8.40 for 2nd class. I can easily drive 4 zones in 10-15 minutes by car. A 2nd class Lokalnetz Tageskarte - which NO ONE uses (except the obese or the infirm) because it's only good for travel of about several hundred meters is CHF 5.20.

Your "example" is nonsense.

IronForge's picture

Checked here:

In USD (this post day's rates, roughly 30K for a Single Person;and 62K for a Married Couple with 2 Kids.

Tacking on the Average 1903 Hours per Annum with the proposed 22CHF(25USD) per Hour, you get 47,575 USD (or is it 47.575,00 American Dollars in European style designation - ^_^).

Nice cushion for Singles with full-time positions, and a need for Couples with a Pair of Young Cubs to have at least 2 Sources of Income btwn them to be above the Line.

Not bad, actually. 

Ketsa's picture

And then you'd realise everything is so fucking expensive around here you would be worse than before...

IronForge's picture

Well, those numbers look pretty close to what some have been advocating in the USA - adjusted for Inflation, Income Growth, etc.  

The Aussies have higher minimums; and it seems to be working fine for them.

Higher Minimums is one of several things that can help the Economy.  More importantly, it would be prudent to bring back Mfg with Tariffs and/or Domestic Content Mandates.

We're pretty much at or near the "Top" of the Pyramid when it comes to Wages in our Competitive Sectors.  If this Country doesn't protect its Wage Earners (I'm talking about Everyone whose Livelihood depends on one's Profession, Trading Acct, or own Enterprise -  something other than clipping Coupons from the Family Trust), it'll be pwned by its Credtitors and abandoned by Nation-States with sound Economies. 


Jumbotron's picture

Sorry....this is off topic but VERY, VERY INTERESTING !

Tyler(s).....need to check this out.  A jet with small American markings owned in a trust to a Utah Bank for some mysterious person was found in Iran.   And NOBODY wants to talk about it.

Officials in Iran only would say they are aware of the plane and that the passenger is "V.I.P."

HHHHmmmmm ???



There is one slight clue though. The jet was spotted in Zurich, Switzerland on January 22, 2014, right around the time of the World Economic Forum in Davos. That probably narrows the list down to 2,633 powerful people.

The plane was also in Accra, Ghana on January 3 and in Luton, England on October 1 of last year and February 16 of this year.


Could it be her ????

Valerie Jarrett

Jarrett was born in Shiraz, Iran, to African-American parents James E. Bowman and Barbara Taylor Bowman. Her father, a pathologist and geneticist, ran a hospital for children in Shiraz in 1956, as part of a program where American physicians and agricultural experts sought to help communitize developing countries' health and farming efforts. When she was five, the family moved to London for one year, later moving to Chicago in 1963

n 1991, as Deputy Chief of Staff to Mayor Richard Daley, she interviewed Michelle Robinson for an opening in the mayor’s office, after which she immediately offered her the job.[23] Michelle Robinson asked for time to think and also asked Jarrett to meet her fiancé, Barack Obama. The three ended up meeting for dinner. After the dinner, Michelle took the job with the mayor's office, and Valerie Jarrett reportedly took the couple under her wing and “introduced them to a wealthier and better-connected Chicago than their own". She later took Michelle with her when she left the mayor's office to head Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development.