It Pays To Be In Politics
A few weeks ago, I commented on Congress's refusal to raise the minimum wage, even in the face of the ever-expanding gargantuan gap between the average CEO salary and that of the average American worker. I noted that Congress has had no discomfort raising its own salaries in the meantime.
A New York Times editorial yesterday scolded Congress for, yet again, giving its members a 2% wage increase --- over their current base pay of $168,500 --- while refusing for nine years to raise the federal minimum wage beyond $5.15 an hour. It is not as if, in exchange, members of Congress forego vacation or benefits. This year, in fact, Congress is recessing a week early!
The Times wrote, "for a family of three, the minimum wage of $10,700, set in 1997, is now more than $5,000 below the federal definition of poverty. In that same time, a lawmaker's salary rose $31,600 --- better than 20 percent--- while the purchasing power of a minimum-wage earner deteriorated by 20 percent."
If that is not a double standard, then what is? It is time Congress raised the minimum wage to a living wage, well before it sees fit to increase the size of its own pockets.