fresh voices from the front lines of change







If you thought that the hotly contested Congressional Budget Office report, suggesting that a higher minimum wage would reduce the number of jobs, would squelch any chance of raising it, think again.

President Obama ratcheted up the pressure today, speaking out in favor of a $10.10 federal minimum wage at a Connecticut rally with four New England Democratic governors who are pledging to push for the same in their respective states.

And he now has a silver bullet to debunk those conservatives using the report, which only offered an estimated range of possibilities, as proof that raising the minimum wage is a certain job-killer.

Washington State.

The home of the Super Bowl champions is also America’s minimum wage champion, with the highest state minimum wage of $9.32. The minimum is also indexed to inflation, so it will never lose purchasing power.

Today Bloomberg checked in on how the Evergreen State’s wage policy has impacted job growth … and found that Washington State job growth beats the national average:

…job growth continued at an average 0.8 percent annual pace, 0.3 percentage point above the national rate. Payrolls at Washington’s restaurants and bars, portrayed as particularly vulnerable to higher wage costs, expanded by 21 percent. Poverty has trailed the U.S. level for at least seven years.

Bloomberg noted that even if conservatives have a point that higher minimum wages have some negative impact on job growth, “Washington’s example shows that any such effects aren’t big enough to throw its economy and labor market off the tracks.”

While the CBO did project a slight reduction in jobs, it also projected that 16.5 million Americans would have higher incomes with a $10.10 minimum wage, including and beyond those directly earning the minimum. (With a $9 minimum, 7.6 million would earn more.)

Considering the Washington State banked those bigger payrolls without experiencing any net job loss, it seems pretty short-sighted to pass on raising the minimum just because of a flimsy projection of minor job losses that isn’t backed up by real world experience.

Republicans who think they can resist the drive for a higher minimum wage by waving the CBO report haven’t noticed that a higher minimum still polls phenomenally even after the report’s release.

Common sense and real-world experience will beat an academic paper every time. Usually that’s a dynamic that bedevils liberals, but in this case, conservatives hold the weak hand.

Use our click-to-call tool to tell your member of Congress to sign the discharge petition that will move legislation that would increase the minimum wage to a vote in the House.

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