The Other Side of CBO’s Report: Minimum Wage Hike Could Cost 500k Jobs

This morning I reported on what I thought was the most important part of CBO’s report on hiking the minimum wage to $10.10. Turns out, the other part of CBO’s report, which said the raise could also cost up to 500,000 jobs, has gotten more attention.

I thought this was worth glossing over because I’m a partisan liberal Democrat and only see the facts I want to see.

Just kidding! I thought it was worth passing over because the majority of economists agree that it would not cost jobs if the minimum wage were to be increased, and I’ve covered that plenty already.

Mike Konczal has the nitty-gritty on how the CBO came up with this “conservative” estimate:

In the report, the authors themselves clarify that they are taking a more conservative line. All predictions, of course, amount to speculation of things that could happen in the economy, but in this one the speculating goes in a direction that is, to a surprising extent, in tune with Republican ideology.

The report speculates that a minimum wage indexed to inflation would reduce jobs. It speculates that the speed of the minimum wage increase, or its level using various inflation measures, would reduce jobs. It argues job losses will be higher because of very new research centered on growth levels, even though that research is highly controversial. It speculates that technological change is coming faster than expected, and this will have an impact. And it also, crucially, speculates that these would bite much harder at $10 minimum wage instead of a $9 one.

Now, I hate it when Republicans complain that the non-partisan CBO did this or that, and they’re a bunch of freedom-hating commies as much as the next guy, but that’s an awful lot of assumptions to make in one side’s favor, if you ask me.


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