Valley Activists Work to Raise Minimum Wage

People in the Valley are working to raise the Massachusetts minimum wage to $15 an hour. They are gathering signatures on a petition. If they get enough signatures, the question will get on the ballot, so every U.S. citizen over age 18 who lives in the state can vote on it, unless they are in prison for a felony. The activists have a web site at www.RaiseUpMA.org. The site says they have the support of the state's biggest unions.

In Vermont, activists who are working to raise that state's minimum wage to $15 an hour have a web site at www.radVT.org. In New Hampshire, people are fighting to raise the state minimum wage; they have a web site at www.radNH.org.

The minimum wage in New Hampshire is $7.25 an hour. In Vermont it's $10; in Massachusetts, $11. The CEO of Walmart makes about $9,000 an hour.

Reducing economic inequality is good for democracy because politicians usually do what their biggest campaign contributors want them to do. Paul Wellstone was a member of the United States senate until he died in 2002. He said, “Some people have the economic wherewithal to give the big money, or to go on TV with the ads, and too many people are just out of the loop. It’s not a case of each person counting as one and no more than one, which is the way the system is supposed to operate.”

Christopher Dodd was a member of the U.S. senate for 30 years, ending in 2011. He said, “It used to be that lobbyists waited in the lobby. Now they’re being whisked into offices to write legislation. Those who write the checks, write the laws.”

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