One of the major provisions put forth as a COVID-19 relief measure is a proposal to raise the paltry U.S. minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour.

That would make a huge difference for essential workers.

As Sam Pizzgati writes this week, drugstore employees at Walgreens start at just $10 an hour and have gotten just 18 cents an hour in hazard pay — all while their CEO pocketed over $17 million last year. If workers are taking the risks, he asks, why are CEOs claiming the rewards?

Also this week, career peacebuilder Kerri Kennedy shares some lessons from her work abroad on preventing the kind of election violence we just saw here. A key component, she writes, is making sure the condemnation of violence is bipartisan.

Kennedy points to a few promising signs, but others are more vexing. As Jill Richardson notes this week, leading Republicans are complaining about Joe Biden’s inaugural condemnation of white supremacy. Why, she wonders, are they claiming that Biden was talking about them?

Finally, Jim Hightower writes about the plague of plastic, while Khalil Bendib ribs the slow crawl of “Operation Warp Speed.”

New This Week…

Three Steps to Prevent Future Election Violence | Kerri Kennedy
I’ve spent my entire career on peacebuilding after conflict. Here’s how we avoid becoming a failed state.

Essential Workers Take the Risk, CEOs Take the Reward | Sam Pizzigati
Walgreens employees got just 18 cents an hour in hazard pay while their CEO made $17 million.

The GOP’s Resentment Theater | Jill Richardson
When President Biden condemned violent white supremacy, leading Republicans complained. Why?

Planet Plastic | Jim Hightower
The vast tonnage of this trash increases every minute, with an afterlife lasting centuries.

Operation Snail Speed | Khalil Bendib
Blink and you’ll miss the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in the U.S.

In Case You Missed It…

Workers Need Paid Sick Leave ASAP | Sarah Anderson
Congress let mandatory paid leave end on Dec. 31. Lawmakers — and employers — need to restore them immediately.

Can We Ever Trust the Police Again? | Tracey L. Rogers
The failures of the Capitol police — and the off-duty cops among the extremists — make it harder to trust the police than ever.

Fossil-Fueled Fascism | Basav Sen
How the oil, gas, and coal industries support and fund white supremacy and far-right politics.

Obama Didn’t Close the Racial Wealth Divide. Can Biden? | Dedrick Asante-Muhammad and Tyler Bond
Dr. King called moderation the “great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom.” Biden should heed that warning today.

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Peter Certo

Peter Certo is the editorial manager of the Institute for Policy Studies and editor of

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