Minimum Wage, Living Wage, and the Working Poor



On January 1st, Ohio’s minimum wage increased by a dime to seven dollars and ninety-five cents per hour. Ohio is among a handful of states that have set their minimum wage level higher than the federal minimum. But many still are critical because they question whether minimum wage is a living wage. Still others question the idea of a minimum wage altogether. Coming up, we’ll talk about the the pros and cons of the minimum wage and its relationship to a living wage, whether they are the same thing or a case of never the twain shall meet.


  • Amy Glasmeier, Professor of Economic Geography and Regional Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Amy Hanauer, executive director of Policy Matters Ohio
  • Greg R. Lawson, Statehouse Liaison and Policy Analyst at the Buckeye Institute


Join The Conversation

  • Tina Witherspoon

    minimum wage raise in Ohio? It has never affected me. When I have worked for minimum wage it has always been federal. Which is 7.35. I make a little more than minimum right now ($8.00) and it is not nearly enough. I am also a single income with dependents. And low wages do limit our economy. I would like to start my own business. But my credit is now poor. Which means I can not get a loan for a car, a house, let alone for a business start up. It also affects my children. No tutors, or learning tools, music or art lessons, or sports. We are just scratching by, I buy very few NEW items. And my income tax return is used to just pay bills that I owe. So even that I can’t use to create a better life. Health Insurance is also limited. We don’t have coverage most of the time and when we do have insurance it’s bad quality. My son had a twisted ankle. The state insurance told us they found us a Doctor who was at least 50 miles away and at that time I had no car. Really? The Masons gave us a ride so he could get that follow up treatment. Yes low wages affect my family in all directions but not just us. It affects others who are offering services. I work my butt off just to keep a roof over our heads and fed. But I offer nothing else to our society because of how financially limited I am. We don’t go out to eat, ever. I bought Arby’s yesterday and that was only because I had some great coupons.( And I didn’t get any of that) Even that is rare. We don’t get to participate or make an impact. We don’t go bowling, or to music venues, movies. Dermatologist, Extended education. Or donate to any charities. I can’t afford it. I pay rent, utilities, car insurance, phone, buy gas and groceries. That’s my contribution to our economy. My mother pays our internet or we wouldn’t have any. I will be buying my kids new clothing with my tax return. Those clothes will all be marked down. Including shoes and hopefully coats for next winter. My clothes all come from a thrift as well as our furniture and linen needs. I plan on visiting my mother in the spring and I will be taking Grey Hound (remember them?) I will be using my tax return for that ticket. My car won’t make that trip and I can’t afford tickets for her grandchildren. How is that good for our economy when my family can’t help to support it in any way other than the necessities?

  • trose

    All Greg Lawson was talking about is trickle down economics. It Doesn’t work. People need more income………. we have done that with Ronald Regan. I repeat it dosent work! We won’t fall for this again. People need better incomes………now!