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Op-Ed: Why We Need to Raise the Minimum Wage

Los Angeles Times (03/10/13) Andy Stern; Carl Camden

In this op-ed by Andy Stern, a senior fellow at Columbia University’s Richman Center, and Carl Camden, president and chief executive officer of Kelly Services, the two argue that we need to raise the minimum wage in order to help lift Americans out of poverty. They point out that currently someone who works full-time making minimum wage and supporting a family of three falls below the federal poverty line. Stern and Camden say that government supports such as the earned income tax credit, food stamps, and Medicaid “mask a job’s true value and set an artificially low wage.” This set-up also teaches low-income workers that their jobs are not valuable. Stern and Camden propose raising the minimum wage, in stages, to $12.50 an hour, which would allow someone working full-time to support a family of three at about 138% of the federal poverty line.

Some critics argue that raising the minimum wage destroys jobs, but numerous recent studies show that raising the minimum wage would have almost no effect on employment. And, in fact, paying workers higher wages actually reduces turnover and boosts productivity.