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Raising the Minimum Wage: A Different Approach to the Jobs Problem

March 19, 2013

In 2011, 3.8 million American workers earned a wage equivalent or less than the Federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. For a full-time worker, this wage equates to an annual income of just over $15,000, approximately $8,000 below the poverty threshold for a family of four. At the same time, a recent Gallup poll indicated that roughly 7 out of 10 Americans support raising the minimum wage. On March 15th, the Aspen Institute’s Economic Opportunities Program hosted a discussion called “Raising the Minimum Wage: A Different Approach to the Jobs Problem.” This event featured a successful business leader and philanthropist, a leading conservative voice, a workers’ rights advocate, and a prominent researcher in a discussion on raising the minimum wage and how it could contribute to improving our nation’s economy. Panelists included Nick Hanauer, Entrepreneur and Venture Capitalist, Second Avenue Partners; Christine Owens, Executive Director, National Employment Law Project; Heidi Shierholz, Economist, Economic Policy Institute; and Ron Unz, Publisher, The American Conservative. The event was moderated by Roben Farzad, Contributor, Bloomberg Businessweek. The event was the first discussion in an Aspen Institute series titled Working in America, which will focus on issues affecting low and moderate income American workers.