Will Congress finally raise the federal minimum wage this year? It would be the least that lawmakers could do. In the fiscal cliff deal, lawmakers locked in big tax breaks for wealthy investors and for heirs of multimillion-dollar estates. At the same time, they allowed the payroll tax cut for low- and middle-income taxpayers to expire, without enacting new provisions to ease the blow. The lowest-paid workers will be hit the hardest. In the states that raised their minimum wage this year, much of the increase will be eaten up by the higher payroll tax. In the other states, paychecks will simply be smaller.