White House pique notwithstanding, the Congressional Budget Office is standing by its estimate of the job impact that a minimum-wage hike would create.
“Our analysis of the effects of an increase in the minimum wage is completely consistent with the latest thinking in the economics profession,” said CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf, disputing the Obama administration’s attempted takedown of his agency’s work.
The White House and congressional Democrats tried to paint CBO as out of touch with mainstream economic thinking after the nonpartisan budget agency estimated raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour could reduce the number of workers in the labor force by 500,000 in 2016. (It also found that the wage proposal would lift 900,000 people out of poverty in the same year.) Republicans seized on the news of job losses as evidence a higher minimum wage is bad policy.
Elmendorf argued that it’s a little hard to compare CBO’s findings, which covered both an increase in the federal minimum to $10.10 and to $9 from the current level of $7.25, with other economists’ assertions on the job impact of the minimum wage because the latter didn’t necessarily have to quantify their estimates. But, he said, CBO appears to line up with what other economists — who have spoken in qualitative language — have found.
The budget-office director pointed to a survey of economists conducted last year by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business’s Initiative on Global Markets, which found them about equally divided on the question of whether a hike of the minimum wage to $9 would make it “noticeably harder” for low-skilled workers to find jobs. “We don’t know exactly what the respondents to that survey meant by ‘noticeably harder,’ ” he said, but CBO’s estimate might track with that.
He also pointed to a letter, organized by the liberal Economic Policy Institute, signed by 600 economists in support of raising the minimum wage to $10.10. Some signatories of that letter were among those criticizing CBO’s report Tuesday. But, Elmendorf said Wednesday, “I’m not sure we would disagree with their statement of the evidence.” The letter said, “The weight of evidence now show[s] that increases in the minimum wage have had little or no negative effect on the employment of minimum-wage workers.” The authors didn’t say what “little” meant, Elmendorf told reporters at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, but “the range we [the CBO] have looks to me like a little reduction,” he said.
Elmendorf did not respond directly to remarks from the White House Council of Economic Advisers’ Jason Furman, who said the CBO view was “outside the consensus view of economists when it comes to the impact of the minimum wage on employment.”
The White House’s criticism of the nonpartisan budget referee was a departure from its response two weeks ago, when CBO issued an equally controversial report finding that Obamacare could reduce the labor force by the equivalent of 2 million full-time workers in 2017. The White House stepped forward to clarify those findings, which the GOP was holding up as proof the law was a “job-killer,” not to question them.
“I don’t want to respond directly to what the CEA has said,” Elmendorf said Wednesday, referring to the minimum-wage findings. “We try to talk about our analysis and let other people talk about theirs.”
What We're Following See More »
As the Russia investigation heats up, "the role of Marc E. Kasowitz, the president’s longtime New York lawyer, will be significantly reduced. Mr. Trump liked Mr. Kasowitz’s blunt, aggressive style, but he was not a natural fit in the delicate, politically charged criminal investigation. The veteran Washington defense lawyer John Dowd will take the lead in representing Mr. Trump for the Russia inquiry."
President Trump's attorneys are "actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work." They plan to argued that Mueller is going outside the scope of his investigation, in inquiring into Trump's finances. They're also playing small ball, highlighting "donations to Democrats by some of" Mueller's team, and "an allegation that Mueller and Trump National Golf Club in Northern Virginia had a dispute over membership fees when Mueller resigned as a member in 2011." Trump is said to be incensed that Mueller may see his tax returns, and has been asking about his power to pardon his family members.
In addition to ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, Robert Mueller's team is also "examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe. FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said. The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort."
"The House voted Thursday to reauthorize the Department of Homeland Security. The bipartisan measure passed easily by a vote of 386-41, with nine Republicans and 32 Democrats voting in opposition. If the bill makes it through the Senate, it would be the first-ever reauthorization of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) since it was created in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks." Among the provisions it contains is a mandate that the Senate confirm the Secret Service director. It also boosts funding for the Urban Area Security Initiative by $195 million per year.
In remarks scheduled to be delivered today at the American Federation of Teachers' summer conference, President Randi Weingarten "likens U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to a climate-change denier" and "says the Trump administration's school choice plans are secretly intended to starve funding from public schools. She calls taxpayer-funded private school vouchers, tuition tax credits and the like 'only slightly more polite cousins of segregation.'" The pro-voucher Center for Education Reform said teachers should "consider inviting Weingarten’s resignation."