Compensation CBO Gives Mixed Verdict on $15 Minimum Wage

A strong endorsement of the $15 minimum wage from the Congressional Budget Office

Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour would come as a boon for millions of workers who would receive pay increases, but not for the millions who would lose their jobs, according to a report released Monday.

The report, coming ahead of an expected House vote on the Raise the Wage Act, found that a $15 minimum wage would also reduce output and business income - a cost that would be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices - for a cumulative $9 billion hit to median family income.

As Common Dreams reported last week, a far-reaching study by economists at the University of California, Berkeley found that raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024 would result in "substantial declines in household and child poverty" without any negative impact on employment or hours worked, even in low-wage states.

"The report finds that a $15 minimum wage would increase the wages of millions of low wage workers, increase the average incomes of low and lower-middle-income families, reduce poverty, shift money from corporate profits to the wages of low-wage workers, and reduce inequality", she said in a statement. But 1.3 million other workers would become jobless, according to CBO's median estimate.

New York Magazine's Eric Levitz argued Monday that the CBO analysis leaves congressional Democrats with no good reason to stop short of a $15 federal minimum wage. He said the cost of the legislation would hurt the groups that it intends to help by reducing their ability to enter the workforce.

Though the Raise the Wage Act has over 200 Democratic sponsors in the House and is backed by almost 75 percent of Democratic voters, so-called moderates have attempted to derail the bill by pushing for a "regional wage" adjusted to local living costs, arguing that a $15 minimum would lead to job losses in low-wage states. The rising minimum wage will increase pay for those minimum-wage workers who remain employed, as well as for those who would likely see a raise to keep the pay scales in the right order.

"This is about workers, their lives and their families's lives", Advincula told the Washington Free Beacon. They also question whether so many individuals could be out of a job if the minimum wage were boosted to $15. Norcross, a career electrician and former union official, said increasing individual pay hikes is the best way to give "working families a fair shot".

Raising the hourly minimum wage to $15 an hour is a proposal thatnearly all the Democratic presidential candidates have endorsed, arguing it will lift Americans out of poverty. Back then it was hard. "That is unacceptable-one job lost is one too many".

Industry groups said the CBO data reinforced the evidence of the economic harm that would come from mandating the same wage rates in MS as one finds in New York City. Sean Kennedy, executive vice president of public affairs for the National Restaurant Association said the proposed bill would disproportionately hurt women in the workforce. "We need a common-sense approach to the minimum wage that reflects the economic realities of each region, because $15 in NY is not $15 in Alabama".

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