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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Minimum wage

Billmon discusses the juxtaposition of Congress rejecting an increase of the minimum wage with voting for raising their own salaries, pointing out (via CNN) that in the nine years since the last raise in the minimum wage Congress has voted itself raises equivalent to $15 an hour.
Ordinarily, I'm sympathetic to the argument that public officials should be well compensated -- because if the voters don't pay up, somebody or something else will. (In Rep. Jefferson's case, his freezer.) Also, congressional salaries basically suck. You could cover the entire payroll in both houses for about $90 million, which is less than what Dennis Kozlowski took home in one giddy year as Tyco CEO.

If one man can get paid that much money to drive an enormous, heavily leveraged organization straight into the ground, it doesn't seem unreasonable to pay 535 people the same amount to do likewise. They're just as good at it as he was.
But Billmon concludes that if the Democrats don't grab this ball and run with it, they are just as dumb as they seem.
This is as close to a no-brainer issue as you're going to find in American politics, which I guess is why the Dems were finally able to figure it out.

Now if they can just convince their own members -- some of whom seem to believe an extra $3,300 a year is better than being in the majority.