The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released a new report, evaluating the potential impact of raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. The non-partisan office, as expected, offers a realistic estimate that flies in the face of conventional ‘conservative wisdom’ — if you pardon that contradiction in terms.
Despite dire warnings by the reality-challenged Tea Party, projected job losses total an approximate 500,000 workers, or a .3% flux in employment numbers. Note the decimal, which may confuse Tea people, being math and all. The report makes it clear that while the losses could be more, there is a significant chance it could be a lot less. This supports the findings of seven Nobel Prize winners and 600 economists, who concluded a minimum wage increase would have little to no influence on job numbers.
The most important finding that deserves attention is that 16.5 million workers would earn an increased income. The ripple effect cannot be denied. More people, with more money to spend, which is key in a demand-driven economy. Just what could increased demand do? Create jobs. Which implies that any job losses could be recaptured in due time.
Of no small matter is that many of these 16.5 million workers would need much less, if any, reliance on social safety net programs such as SNAP or TANF. You would think conservatives would favor a simple solution to reduce government expenditures on the poor. Knowing ‘conservative reason’ — begging your pardon again — you would be wrong.
Given a choice between continuing to subsidize a sub-standard minimum wage or offering workers a living wage that confers dignity and worth, why is this still being debated?
Ah yes, because the intractable ideologues of the Republican Party and their benefactors in the corporate world do not care about such niceties as dignity, valued labor, or honest reductions of government spending. While business interests have long opposed minimum wage increases since there has been a minimum wage, this one is being vigorously opposed because it raises the wage to match inflation, and more to the point, because it has been proposed by President Obama. In the end, they only care about opposing the president at every turn, cutting off the nation’s nose to spite its face. At this rate, it won’t be long before Uncle Sam starts to look like Ayn Rand.
While the CBO report is described as “mixed,” it does make the case that raising the minimum wage will have benefits for labor and the economy that substantially outweigh the risks. That is more than enough to debunk the inevitable barrage of conservative lies and outrage surely coming this week.
h/t: Politics USA