Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Harry Reid gets an idea-- and it's a good one.

A few days ago I wrote a post in which I criticized those members of Congress who, among other things, voted against stimulating consumer spending with a minimum wage increase while pocketing a nice $3000 plus Congressional pay raise.

Not so fast. Harry Reid has decided that is wrong, and he's doing something about it.

Since the minimum wage remains frozen at $5.15 per hour, where it has been for nine years of benign (or not so benign) neglect, he has said that he intends to prevent the Congressional pay raises from taking effect.

"They can play all the games the want," Reid said derisively of the Republicans who control the chamber. "They can deal with gay marriage, estate tax, flag burning, all these issues and avoid issues like the prices of gasoline, sending your kid to college. But we're going to do everything to stop the congressional pay raise"....

During the past nine years, as Democrats have tried unsuccessfully to increase the minimum wage, members of Congress have voted to give themselves pay raises -- technically "cost of living increases" -- totaling $31,600, or more than $15 an hour for a 40-hour week, 52 weeks a year, according to the Congressional Research Service....

Reid wouldn't spell out the specific tactics he would employ to block the congressional pay raise -- which is triggered each year with the passage of an appropriations bill not by a vote on a stand alone bill to increase pay for members.

But he warned, "I know procedure's around here fairly well."

$31,600 is equal to what three people would earn if they all worked full time at minimum wage for a year, and that only represents the raises that Congress has given itself since the last time they raised the minimum wage.

Seems what Harry Reid is doing is right on target. Don't give the lowest paid workers a raise-- then see what it is like to live with none yourself.

It's about time that somebody came up with and stood behind an idea like that.


glenda said...

Putting his money where his mouth is.

Karen said...

well, you know i completely agree with you!

Dark Wraith said...

Good evening, Eli Blake.

I have offered a possible solution to the problem with Congress failing to pass timely and adequate increases in the minimum wage: attach federal salary increases to minimum wage increases. If the salaries go up by a certain percentage, the minimum wage goes up by the same percentage. Conversely, no minimum wage increase, no federal salary increases, either.

In my judgment, codifying in federal statute this indexing of the two monetary compensation structures is the only way to de-politicize, at least to a certain extent, raises in both federal salaries and the minimum wage, since any generosity bestowed upon Congressmen and others in the scheme would automatically become generosity bestowed upon the working poor while, at the same time, Congressmen could cover themselves politically for raises to themselves by claiming, quite legitimately, that they were merely incidental beneficiaries of a raise that was intended for the lowest rungs of the private sector labor force.

That's my suggestion, anyway.

The Dark Wraith doubts, however, that anyone's going to buy into it, if for no other reason than because it would probably work pretty well.