We could simply talk about the minimum wage. But better yet, let’s keep it real and find real working Americans—people on the front lines of the debate—as a way of telling the story. Businessweek photographed and interviewed people around the country, asking them questions and directing them to write their answers on a card and hold it up to be photographed. This is Jody Sullivan, 44, from Rosendale, N.Y. She earns $8 an hour as a cashier at a discount store.
 
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Photograph by Justin Maxon for Bloomberg Businessweek

We could simply talk about the minimum wage. But better yet, let’s keep it real and find real working Americans—people on the front lines of the debate—as a way of telling the story. Businessweek photographed and interviewed people around the country, asking them questions and directing them to write their answers on a card and hold it up to be photographed. This is Jody Sullivan, 44, from Rosendale, N.Y. She earns $8 an hour as a cashier at a discount store.
 
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Photograph by Justin Maxon for Bloomberg Businessweek

Ten Workers on Living on the Minimum Wage

We could simply talk about the minimum wage. But better yet, let’s keep it real and find real working Americans—people on the front lines of the debate—as a way of telling the story. Businessweek photographed and interviewed people around the country, asking them questions and directing them to write their answers on a card and hold it up to be photographed. This is Jody Sullivan, 44, from Rosendale, N.Y. She earns $8 an hour as a cashier at a discount store.
 
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Photograph by Justin Maxon for Bloomberg Businessweek

Nate Smith, 21, from Philadelphia, earns $7.25 an hour as a baggage handler.

Lailani Leyden, 31, from Alhambra, Calif., earns $8 an hour working at a restaurant.

Photograph by John Francis Peters for Bloomberg Businessweek

Phi Long Do, 26, of Rosemead, Calif., earns $8 an hour helping customers at an electronics store.

Photograph by John Francis Peters for Bloomberg Businessweek

Veronica Ramirez, 27, of Alhambra, Calif., earns $8 an hour as a bartender.

Photograph by John Francis Peters for Bloomberg Businessweek

Tori Salomani, 17, a senior in high school from Kingston, N.Y., earns $8 an hour as a receptionist at the YMCA.

Photograph by Justin Maxon for Bloomberg Businessweek

Michael Oduntan, 19, of Brooklyn, N.Y., earns $8 an hour at a pizza chain.

Photograph by Justin Maxon for Bloomberg Businessweek

Matt Bowen, 30, from Hurley, N.Y., earns $9 an hour working at a gym.

Photograph by Justin Maxon for Bloomberg Businessweek

Wilton Major, 41, of Brooklyn, N.Y., earns $8.45 an hour as a fry cook at a fast-food chain where he's worked for 22 years.

Photograph by Alex Welch for Bloomberg Businessweek

Elva Godoy, 44, of New York City, earns $8.25 an hour training cooks at a fast-food restaurant.

Photograph by Alex Welch for Bloomberg Businessweek