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Remember "The West Wing"? Aaron Sorkin put a lot of effort into depicting Republicans -- okay, probably just Alan Alda -- as serious-minded, ethical mammals who just had a difference of opinion with the Democratic protagonists. It turns out "The West Wing" was as realistic as "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." That's because too many Republicans are like Mike Lee. The Utah Senator more closely resembles a character from a bad USA comedy series.

Republicans are holding a procedural vote today on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal. Lee took to the Senate floor to tell us how terrible it is. He could have done this with facts and data. Instead, he went with Ronald Reagan and a velociraptor.

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Presidential candidate Kamala Harris has a radical idea: We should pay schoolteachers as if they'd actually attended school themselves. The California senator today announced details of her proposal to increase teacher salaries across the country. She'd first discussed the plan at a campaign event this weekend at Texas Southern University.

HARRIS: I am declaring to you that by the end of my first term, we will have improved teacher salaries so that we close the pay gap, because right now teachers are making over 10 percent less than other college-educated graduates.

The plan would raise average teacher pay by $13,500. That should permit them to quit at least one of their other part-time jobs. The federal government would pitch in the first 10 percent of required funding. States would have access to $3 in matching federal support for every dollar of additional state money until the pay gap is closed with other college-educated workers. In our home state of South Carolina, the average teacher would get a $9,300 raise, which is a 19 percent pay increase.

Harris elaborated further in an op-ed published in today's Washington Post.

HARRIS: The United States is facing a teacher pay crisis. Public school teachers earn 11 percent less than professionals with similar educations. Teachers are more likely than non-teachers to work a second job. In 30 states, average teacher pay is less than the living wage for a family of four.
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