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The federal minimum wage has been $7.25 per hour since 2009, which works out to just about $15,000 per year at 40-hour weeks, without any vacation days. Congress is now debating an increase to $15 per hour as part of the next round of economic stimulus, but there is plenty of opposition.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the economics and politics of the federal minimum wage, on which it seems everyone has an opinion.

Go deeper

Focus group: $15 minimum wage is a flop with swing voters

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Some swing voters have deep reservations about raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, worried that the impacts on employers or inflation may outweigh benefits to individual workers.

Why it matters: President Biden and most congressional Democrats support the increase and favor its inclusion in the next coronavirus stimulus. But Biden said last week it may face too much resistance to make it into this round. These voters who switched from Donald Trump in 2016 to Biden in 2020 help explain why.

Feb 10, 2021 - Axios Events

Sen. Amy Klobuchar: More help for women and Black-owned businesses hurt by pandemic is needed

Axios Events

The government should provide more help to Black and minority-owned businesses suffering during the pandemic, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said at an Axios event on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Klobuchar said small communities have been "hit hard" during the pandemic, and women and minority-owned businesses were late to receive financial recovery aid.

  • As Axios' Naomi Shavin wrote in May, structural barriers and a lack of "cash buffers" during the first round of PPP loans made surviving a pandemic particularly difficult for black and minority-owned businesses.

What she's saying: "And we know who's been hit hard by this pandemic, whether it's because they're essential workers, whether it's because they're laid off, whether it's because of the death rate and where you've seen these higher mortality rates with the minority communities or whether it's where the aid has gone."

Klobuchar said she's pushing to include a venture capital proposal that would encourage more women and minority entrepreneurship in the next relief plan.

"No one is better off if we have a whole group in our society who's been hurt more by this pandemic than others," she said.

Of note: Klobuchar also said she sees a path to passing the $15 minimum wage legislation through reconciliation in the upcoming COVID bill.

  • "You've had a lot of these minimum wage increases passed in jurisdictions across the country and not just in blue states," she said.

Watch the full event here.

D.C.-Beijing tensions are shifting markets

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. markets stand to lose $2 trillion in value if D.C. and Beijing drift further apart.

Why it matters: Political chasms are showing up in new securities regulations that put companies and investors in a bind. The rules are also another reflection of how much relations between the world’s largest economies have cooled, even as they remain economically interdependent.