Democratic Assembly members Noreen Evans of Santa Rosa and Jared Huffman of San Rafael say they approved pay raises for key aides because these folks deserve pay raises and because higher salaries make it easier to retain the most qualified people.

Maybe Evans and Huffman should explain to the 63 Santa Rosa bus drivers who on the same day agreed not to seek pay raises for the next two years.

Maybe they should explain to the 200,000 state workers whose wages were cut by 10 percent or more.

Maybe they should explain to the millions of public and privates workers forced by economic reality to get by on smaller salaries.

Maybe they should explain to the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs.

Do Evans and Huffman really believe that their staff people are the only people who are working harder, the only people who deserve to be paid more?

The Associated Press reported that 96 legislative employees received pay raises totaling $582,000.

Meanwhile, all kinds of talented people are obliged to make sacrifices, the state budget is billions of dollars in the red, and every day brings more grim new about all the ways that public services are being gutted.

Just when it seemed we couldn’t be any more disillusioned, along comes a moment like this. California is coming apart while its politicians live in splendid isolation.