Good Reading: A Political Argument Goes Down to Earth

By Mike Feinsilber

The president says no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty. He wants to raise the minimum wage. His opponents say that would throw more people into poverty: employers would  lay off workers or cut back their hours.

The New York Times on Sunday, February 16, examines what happens on the ground—a good idea by reporter Kirk Johnson, or his editors. The piece takes a look at people who live in Idaho, where the minimum wage is the federal $7.25 an hour,  but commute across the state line to Oregon , to work at the state-set minimum wage of $9.10 an hour.

Johnson’s piece, Crossing Borders and Changing Lives, Lured by Higher State Minimum Wages, is a solid piece of on-the-ground journalism. It takes a political argument out of Washington to a place where what Washington does affects real people living real lives.


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