Higher wage beneficial
Opponents of a minimum wage increase seized upon part of a recent Congressional Budget Office Report and lifted it from its context.
The analysis by the nonpartisan office found that, as critics charge, increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour could result in up to 500,000 lost low-wage jobs.
But the report also found that the increased minimum wage would, on balance, produce far more substantial benefits to individuals and the economy than the cost of the lost jobs.
Sen. Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat, has proposed the minimum wage increase, to be phased in over two years. The CBO found that the increase would result in higher wages for 16.5 million workers.
Critics contend that the lost jobs result from two factors - some employers unwilling to take on the additional costs, and higher prices for goods and services dampening demand and resulting in a reduced workforce.
Higher wages for 16.5 million workers would result in greater economic activity overall, however, increasing demand and increasing employment.
Overall, the numbers - which have been borne out by the history of minimum wage increases as well as the CBO analysis - favor the higher minimum wage. Congress should pass the bill.