The Genius of Bipartisan Compromise II – The Minimum Wage Reckoning

On Jan. 17 I noted that 75 economists were urging our brilliant and honorable leaders to raise the minimum wage and the GOP were sticking their fingers in their ears and singing “nah-nah-nah, I can’t hear you” (Grammy winner, best taunt song 1973).

Now 602 economists are urging them to do it. That’s 300 buff, greased warrior economists defending Sparta’s economy – times two!  PLUS TWO!

The 602 economists — including seven Nobel laureates and eight former presidents of the American Economic Association — have signed an open letter calling on President Obama, House leaders John Boehner (R-OH), Eric Cantor (R-VA), and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and Senate leaders Harry Reid (D-NV) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour by 2016, and index it to protect against inflation thereafter.

The GOP could ignore the 75. Can they defend their kingdom of Stupidstan against the 602? King Boehner the Orange has stood stalwart against such a raise in the minimum wage claiming that raising the price of labor will cost jobs.

According to the PhDs who signed the EPI letter, however, Boehner is flatly wrong.

“In recent years there have been important developments in the academic literature on the effect of increases in the minimum wage on employment, with the weight of evidence now showing that increases in the minimum wage have had little or no negative effect on the employment of minimum-wage workers, even during times of weakness in the labor market,” the letter reads. “Research suggests that a minimum-wage increase could have a small stimulative effect on the economy as low-wage workers spend their additional earnings, raising demand and job growth, and providing some help on the jobs front.”

The reality is that the citizens of Sparta, Persia and America all agree that the minimum wage should be raised. I expect that Boehner the Orange will continue his opposition. The issue then will go to the ballots in 2014 and be for Democrats what gay marriage was 10 years ago for Republicans, inspiring their base to come out and vote and boosting the electoral chances of Democratic tickets across the country.

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