Cost of living increase? That's a little something added to the boss's yearly bonus to ensure he won't take his expertise to another company and turn that one also into a smoking hole in the ground. It's important to protect talent.
I don't want to sound too geeky, but don't you think it would be interesting to see how many thumbs-ups and how many thumbs-downs a comment gets, rather than just the cumulative total of the pluses and minuses? I think this particularly when a strip raises a political issue; you might have a million and one Republican votes, and a million Democrat ones, and the final score will only be 1.