Beyond the Minimum Wage: New Policies to Raise Wages

The reality for working Americans is that wages have been largely stagnant for over three decades.   For many workers -- especially those without a college degree -- pay has actually gotten worse, meaning that this generation is the first one in American history which is not doing signficantly better than the previous one.  Part of the reason for these stagnant wages is that inflation was allowed to erode the federal minimum wage-- its inflation-adjusted value dropping from $9.12 per hour in 1968 down to just $5.15 per hour in 2005.  

New Latino Voters May Change Political Map

"Today we march, tomorrow we vote!" - the chant at the recent immigration rights rallies -- may translate into a changed electoral landscape in many states across the country.

IL: Culture of Corruption Nets Former Gov 10-20

Republican Former Illinois Governor George Ryan was convicted this week on eighteen counts, including racketeering, mail fraud, false statements, and tax violations. His crime? Selling out the public for profit gain. While the Governor awaits sentencing -- his crimes may earn him as much as ten-twenty years in federal prison -- his case offers lessons for all of us.

IL: Culture of Corruption Lands Former Governor Behind Bars

Georgia10, one of the front-page writers at dKos, has an apt summary of what went down in Illinois today, where former Governor George Ryan has been convicted of multiple counts regarding years of corrupt behavior. One of the most important items in the post is the emphasis on how the corruption impacted people. Ryan's corrupt operation allowed unqualified truck drivers "earn" driving licenses through bribes. One of those truck drivers had an accident that killed six children.

FL: Leaving the Injured without Justice

The corporate lobby scored a big victory in Florida last week, as the Sun Sentinel detailed:

The Florida Senate gave final approval Thursday to a measure toppling a centuries-old principle of civil law that will make it harder for people to collect damages when they're injured in an accident.


IL: Pulling Money Out of the Sudan

Illinois state law prohibits investments in companies that do business in Sudan. Now, the teacher pension is pulling roughly $130 million in international investments. This is clearly a good move. Investing in genocide is not a moral solution as Divest Sudan makes clear. The beauty of pushing for pension divestment is clear. First, American workers should seek returns that aren't built on the blood of genocide victims.

IL: Health Care for All?

The Chicago Tribune reports that Illinois is making major moves that could culminate in the state becoming the first in the country to make health care available to everyone. The details are being worked out, but the meat of the issue is that the idea is being seriously studied and formal conversations are happening in every legislative district in the state.

IL: Bold Pre-K Move

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (D) is pushing forward with a far-reaching proposal for two years of universal pre-kindergarten instruction, starting with three-year-olds. The proposal has come under fire from both Republicans and some members of the Governor's own party (Chicago Tribune, Registration Required) for being an expensive proposal that won't pass. Universal pre-K is an extremely popular program, leaving the Governor's critics in the difficu