Who Gets a Pay Raise?

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We live in a country where appeals to “save the children” don’t, apparently, have any effect. John Kerry’s health-care plan would have ended our long national scandal of millions of uninsured children? Big deal! 12.9 million children live in poverty? Must be their fault! And so on. So I’m not entirely convinced that a new study, showing that raising the minimum wage would benefit 9.7 million children, will have any effect, but here it is.

Speaking of minimum wage, I was hopping around Google the other day and came across this stunning sentence by Holly Sklar: “Congress has had seven pay raises since 1997, when the minimum wage increased to $5.15, while approving none since then for minimum wage workers.” Sklar suggests that we tie any increases in congressional salaries to hikes in the minimum wage. Not bad, not bad at all. The downside is that I actually think members of Congress should be paid much more than they are now: it would attract better talent, make them less corruptible, and discourage the sort of hopping from Congress to lucrative lobbyist positions that we see so often nowadays. The other downside is that Congressional pay increases are linked to pay increases for judges and other civil servants in the executive branch. Nevertheless, Holly Sklar has the right general idea. The minimum wage needs raising, and something needs to get Congress’ attention.

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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