The Buzz

Harry Reid is the target at gathering of conservatives

Look at it this way: It’s a short work week.

“Wrap his mouth in toilet paper,” a passer-by noticing a life-size cutout of Senate Majority Leader — and Democrat — Harry Reid at this weekend’s Americans for Prosperity gathering in Dallas.

Reid has been a relentless critic of the Koch brothers who fund AFP and was much-discussed at the AFP summit. Politico characterizes the Koch-Reid clash as one of the defining battles of the year.

“We’ve gone from being state-supported, to state-assisted, and now we’re just state-located. The fact is the state is not pulling its weight.” — Chancellor Hal Higdon of Ozarks Technical Community College talking about the decline in taxpayer aid from the state of Missouri.

It’s an oft-repeated story around Missouri. At Ozarks Technical Community College, 50 percent of its revenue came from the state a decade ago. Today, just 25 percent. During that same time, tuition has jumped 27 percent. (link via

“It’s been a gentle decline, slow and steady.” — Marion Crain, a law professor at Washington University specializing in labor, on the slow and steady decline in union membership.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch points out that at its peak in the 1950s, a third of the work force were union members. But in St. Louis last year, just about 13 percent of workers were covered by a union contract last year. That’s down from 21 percent two decades ago. Crain said most scholars don’t believe the total will drop below 5 percent.

“The bottom line is, America deserves a raise.” — President Barack Obama who renewed his call Monday for Congress to raise the minimum wage.

In his weekly radio address, the president said raising the minimum wage was “one of the best ways to give a boost to working families.” And he praised the president of Kentucky State University who took a pay cut to give raises to his lowest-paid employees. Essentially, the president said Congress needs to play catchup to leaders like the school president who are acting to improve wages.