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A living wage refers to the amount of money a fulltime employee needs to either afford the basic necessities in life or exceed the poverty threshold. It is based on the principle that people working full-time should make enough money to financially support their families. Most living wage initiatives are local municipal ordinances lobbied by the American Federation of Labor–Congress of Industrial Organizations and the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). As of January 2006, 134 municipalities in the United States have legislated living wage ordinances.

Living wage proponents maintain that the minimum wage should lift people out of poverty; but that is not the case in the United States. In 2005, a fulltime worker paid the minimum wage of $5.15 an hour would ...

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