04/09/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Ugly Side of Progressive Politics

While I wish I wasn't looking for additional part-time work outside of my current full-time employment, I have been browsing the occasional job site as I ponder this inevitable necessity of additional income in raising a young family. Even in these "economic times," I have tried to maintain the "audacity of hope" of finding something that might be flexible, yet align with my ideals. Needless to say, over the past few months I have come across a range of absurd job expectations along with a host of suspect "phishing-like" employment posts.

There has been one repeated posting for an organization called Grassroots Campaigns Inc that has really raised my ire. This organization claims to have roots in working with the Democratic National Committee in the past and professes to "partner with groups and campaigns to advance good issues, raise money for progressive causes."

What's the big deal?

Well, as a card-carrying, Union member who is not making ends meet, I am scratching my head at this ubiquitous job post wondering where Oregon's 2009 Minimum wage of $8.40 factors in with a written job description that claims it will pay you $24,000 a year for 60-80hrs/wk. Perhaps my math is wrong and my widget calculator has been hacked, but I reckon this breaks down to roughly $7.69/hr or $5.77/hr for a 60 and 80 hour work week, respectively. I recognize there are some complexities with exempt vs non-exempt + overtime being glossed over for dramatic purposes. But as someone who was routinely subjected to 60-100+ hour weeks in a salaried position during Oregon's last recession, I used to joke helplessly that I'd be better off working for less in a menial retail job with good benefits once you weighed my de facto hourly rate with the high out-of-pocket cost of my anemic benefits.

Now it's the next recession and I'm to struggling to keep the flicker of hope aflame when this is the business model for an organization that offers "strategic consulting, fundraising, and field organizing for good causes." I look at who they claim as past and present clients and I start losing a lot of faith really quickly: the Democratic National Committee, MoveOn PAC, Environmental Action, the League of Conservation Voters, the ACLU, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Amnesty International, The Center for American Progress, Working America, Common Cause, Save the Children, and so on. While transparency is a virtue, a written job description that expects to compensate hours worked with less than minimum wage is a poor reflection on all of these organizations when they've hired Grassroots Campaigns to do outreach on their behalf.

It's no wonder people are angry. But instead of just complaining, I shall present a solution as well: I'll start a non-profit called Save the Adults. First order of business, I'll hire Grassroots Campaigns Inc to raise money. After they take their fund-raising fee, I'll then donate to them what's left. Then they can pay their employees "bonuses" to raise their pay to minimum wage for each hour worked. Now that's what I call strategic fund-raising. Madoff and Merill Lynch would be proud!