The Democrats have quickly gone into defensive mode following a recently released report by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. Director Douglas Elmendorf is defending his report which indicates that the White House supported minimum wage hike from $7.50 to $10.10 an hour could result in a loss of at least 500,000 jobs by 2016. The Republicans have seized upon the report as further evidence that President Obama’s plan will do much more harm than good.
That estimate by the CBO states that the increase would result in improved wages for over approximately 16.5 million workers, but it also calculates that the number of jobs lost as a result could range from a “very slight decrease to one million workers.”
The Democrats have responded to the report’s numbers by claiming that they do not reflect the data from other economic experts. In a recent statement, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said about the report that its “conclusions contradict the consensus among hundreds of America’s top economists, who predict that a wage hike would actually stimulate the economy, raise demand and job growth, and provide help in job creation.”
(On her program last night, Megyn Kelly of Fox News discussed the devastating report with Charles Krauthammer who also emphasized the Democrat’s selective tendencies with regards to CBO numbers.)
At a breakfast held by the Christian Science Monitor, the study’s author, Douglas Elmendorf told reporters, “I want to be clear that our analysis of the effects of an increase in the minimum wage is completely consistent with the latest thinking in the economics profession.”
Elmendorf has not directly responded to the criticisms of his report, but he did comment about a letter from a panel of economists which claims that the minimum wage increase would have “little or no negative effect on the employment of minimum wage workers.” The Democrats have been trumpeting this letter in the wake of the CBO’s report, but Elmendorf has said, “That is not a random sample of economists, that is a set of economists that support raising the minimum wage.”
The Republicans, who have repeatedly claimed that an increase in the federal minimum would cost the economy jobs, consider yesterday’s CBO report as a measure of vindication. They have described the Democrat-sponsored wage hike as a “a devastating blow to the very people that need help most in this economy.”
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