White House, Big Labor: The CBO has no idea what it’s talking about on minimum wage
posted at 8:41 pm on February 18, 2014 by Erika Johnsen
What else can they say, really? The Democrats have built their entire midterm strategy on an economic populism focused around the minimum wage as a way to both cudgel Republicans and distract from ObamaCare’s woes — it’s much too late to turn back now, not even for a super official, nonpartisan report confirming many of the plan’s negative effects on the job market and those in poverty to which Republicans have been pointing. This one’s getting the White House’s full sugarcoat/whitewash treatment, via the WFB:
A top White House economist says that President Obama’s minimum wage increase will have “zero effect” on employment, despite a CBO report that the proposed hike would likely eliminate 500,000 jobs.
“Our view is that zero is a perfectly reasonable estimate of the impact of raising the minimum wage on employment,” Council of Economic Advisers chairman Jason Furman said on a conference call with reporters shortly after the report came out.
Furman said the CBO was out-of-step with the White House’s views on the proposed 40 percent hike, though he praised the report for highlighting wage boosts that will accompany the hike.
“Sometimes you have respectful disagreement among economists,” he said of the parts of the study that did not confirm White House rhetoric about the $10.10 wage.
“Our view is that zero is a perfectly reasonable estimate of the impact of raising the minimum wage on employment.” …Geez, man — if that’s how you feel, how can you possibly justify stopping at $10.10? Why not $20? Why not a million, and we can all live happily ever after?
And of course, the obligatory Labor reaction, via the WSJ:
Organized labor wasted no time responding to a Congressional Budget Office report that undermines one of unions’ top priorities: raising the federal minimum wage, along with wages in general. …
Richard Trumka, president of union federation AFL-CIO, which is holding its winter meeting in Houston this week to strategize for the year, immediately challenged the study’s findings and said it echoed false claims by conservatives.
“Every time momentum builds for lifting wages, conservative ideologues say it will cost jobs. Every time, they’ve been dead wrong,” Mr. Trumka said in a statement emailed during his closed-door meeting with labor leaders in a Hilton hotel ballroom.
“This is more of the same noise,” Mr. Trumka said, adding that conservative economists don’t care about workers. “Our country is finally poised to lift millions out of poverty and make our country work for the people who work. Let’s raise the wage and we’ll prove the CBO wrong again,” he added.
“Let’s raise the wage and we’ll prove the CBO wrong again”? Is that kind of like, “We have to pass it to find out what’s in it”?