There was no GWB caused recession in the early 2000's. Economic data shows that the recession began in 2000 in the EU following the beginning of the burst of the tech bubble which lasted from March 2000 to late 2002. The recession then spread (as most do) to the US and other parts of the world in March of 2001 (NBER data), less then 2 months after inauguration day. The dot com crash was then followed by 9/11. 9/11 alone erased a minimum of a years economic output and growth from the US economy.
Minimum wage laws are perhaps the most racist laws on the books, and were actually sold that way by progressives when originally proposed. They were a large part of the eugenic movement progressives embraced in the late 19th and early 20th century. (A respected progressive professor from Madison, Edward A. Ross argued for minimum wages stating that, "“the coolie (racist term for Chinese workers), though he cannot outdo the American, can underlive him.”). Less productive people would be allowed to fall by the wayside. The 1912 MA minimum wage applied only to women and children and had the effect of reducing employment of women. In the Jim Crow years Unions supported minimum wages and increases because these would, in effect lead to more experienced, educated employees being hired...i.e. white. Unfortunately this still applies to minimum wages today, they are partially responsible for the differences in unemployment rates among races leading to a permanent underclass as they never get the experience of holding a job.
The true minimum wage is $0. Unskilled and under educated suffer that wage every time they apply for a job that requires levels of output they cannot meet.
Currently 29 states and numerous localities have minimum wage laws that are higher then the Federal wage. That's how it should be if there is to be a minimum wage at all. A one size fits all wage (as is the case with most Federal policies and regulation) makes no sense, you can't live on Rockford Wages in NYC.
Congressmen, well, they do need to have two homes. One in their district and one in DC. I wish they worked less, lol. In reality today there should be at least double or triple the number of Congressmen - they represent too many people for the individual citizens to have any impact on them. Each rep has on average 733,000 citizens in their district! Wow. AND the more laws they pass the worse things get!
Perfect example, your concern of CEO pay. In 1993 the government decided (in all their infinite wisdom) that CEO's made too much so they passed a law limiting the ability of a corporation to deduct CEO (actually, the top 5 corp officers) pay that exceeded $1 million. They excluded perks and stock holder approved merit based stock bonus plans. As a result, as humans are wont to do, they followed the law but found ways to work within but around... the bonuses grew providing huge growth in actual compensation as the stock market grew and so did their stock options. This caused corporate officer income growth above the wage growth prior to the law. All perfectly legal. The government can never predict unintended consequences! The government cannot alter human nature.
BY THE WAY, THE 2017 TAX LAW ELIMINATED THIS EXEMPTION! This should lead to more accountability for actual pay.
One point here, corporations don't actually pay taxes...they are just a pass through. The money comes from one of 3 places, the customer (higher prices), the employees (lower wages or hours), or the stock holders including IRA's and 401k's (about 44% of Americans, 54% when you include individual stock holders more then half of Americans, BTW, stock buybacks impact the wealth of these Americans as well). (lower dividends or stock growth). People pay taxes, corporations don't.
Government is not what, “we choose to do together,” as we heard repeatedly recently. Government is actually what 50% plus one person choose to do together, the individual be damned. Corporations are actually what we choose to do together. Don’t like the corporation, don’t join (invest), don’t use/shop there, start your own to compete!
The beauty of our system, as established, is that most of our concern and regulation should be a local issue not federal (as close to home as possible). As mentioned above each Rep has 733,000 citizens they represent. How is the average (non billionaire) citizen supposed to make a dent in an election of that size? Yet, they can get their neighbors together to oust their county board rep, or alderman. One person can talk to a lot of neighbors! They can even have an impact on mayor or county board chair. But the further you get from home the harder it is. Congressman, Senator, good luck. And that is the root problem, all the rest are symptoms.
Money in politics, blame the fact that the Federal Government has their paws in everything meaning everyone has some skin in the game and are willing to pay to keep that power. Again, just a symptom.
It never ceases to amaze the calls for more government when experience and history show over and over that this only leads to is more corporate cronyism, graft, and corruption.