S. 3453, the Fair Minimum Wage Act, would gradually raise the minimum wage from $7.25/hr. to $9.80/hr., while gradually raising the minimum wage for tipped employees from $2.13/hr. (!) to 70 percent of the minimum wage for all other employees. S. 3453 would also index the minimum wage to inflation, so that we wouldn't have yet another situation where gas prices shoot way, way up but folks' incomes don't. The minimum wage has, believe it or not, very few opponents, but I'm sure the "liberal" media will foreground their complaints. Didn't we just raise the minimum wage? we'll hear, from people who pretend not to know that an economic Armageddon happened between then and now. How will we protect small businesses from the shock? we'll hear, from folks who are unable to apprehend words like "gradually." Won't that kill jobs? we'll hear, from folks who don't know that Australia's minimum wage is above $15 and their official unemployment rate is around 5%. Moms Rising helps you tell your Congressfolk to support a minimum wage hike.
Meanwhile, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood helps you tell your state Department of Education to investigate Channel One, the corporation that produces a weekly twelve-minute "news program" for students in middle and high schools. Why investigate? Because that twelve minutes has included two minutes of commercials for almost a quarter-century now; Channel One claims it's the price of getting the news program into schools (what, taking taxpayer money isn't enough?), but the "news program" isn't all that, either, or kids would remember it more than they remember the commercials. And Channel One isn't exactly setting the world on fire despite its corporate partnerships with CBS, NBC, AT&T, and many others -- its audience has shrunk from a shade over 8 million in 2000 to about 5.5 million today, and Channel One's plan to be relevant again apparently includes promoting live psychic readings (for only $7.98 a minute!). The solution, as usual, is simple: fund public schools wisely and no one will be tempted to buy Channel One fare.