CBO chief shrugs off Dem criticism on wage report


McClatchy Washington Bureau

If Douglas Elmendorf has 99 problems, criticism from Democrats over his report this week highlighting the tradeoffs involved in raising the minimum wage is not one of them.

Asked repeatedly Wednesday about criticism from top Democrats and lobby groups about the report's findings, the director of the Congressional Budget Office said "it doesn't have any effect on the work we do." He added that "for much of the work we do there is a range of reactions."

Elmendorf was already unpopular with Democrats for an earlier report that tried to  calculate the future labor-market effects of the Affordable Care Act over the next 10 years. Republicans made hay from it, focusing on the job losses projected as people lowered their hours worked and ignoring the demand side of the report that said on net more jobs would be created.

The criticism grew after the non-partisan CBO released its report Tuesday on the economic effects of raising the minimum wage. The report said the most likely scenario under the president's proposal to raise the minimum hourly wage to $10.10 was that almost 1 million people would be lifted out of poverty but another 500,000 could lose their jobs

The conclusion led to an unusually hostile statement from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. The CBO's findings "contradict the  consensus among hundreds of America's top economists, who predict that a wage hike would actually stimulate the economy, raise demand and job growth, and provide help in job creation."

Addressing reporters at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, the CBO chief said he would not answer Pelosi's comments directly. The report, he added, was entirely consistent "with the latest thinking by economists." Those economists that criticized the report, he said, "don't put numbers to their words."

As for comments by some groups that as many as 600 prominent economists supported raising the minimum wage, Elmendorf gave an answer in the language of true wonks.

"That's not a representative sample of economists," he quipped.

When asked about how both political parties were seizing parts of his report and playing loose with the facts, Elmendorf said it was not his job "to be the hall monitor."






Read more National Business stories from the Miami Herald

  • Court to consider Natchez hospital ombudsman

    The federal bankruptcy court overseeing Natchez Regional Medical Center's Chapter 9 filing will decide this week if it needs to appoint a special patient advocate for the duration of the process.

A Ukrainian soldier controls a road  outskirts of Izyum, Eastern Ukraine, Thursday, April 17, 2014. Ukraine is hoping to placate Russia and calm hostilities with its neighbor even as the U.S. prepares a new round of sanctions to punish Moscow for what it regards as fomenting unrest.

    Oil stays above $104 amid Ukraine jitters

    The price of oil edged down Monday but stayed above $104 per barrel as investors watched simmering tensions in Ukraine.

  • Asian stocks mixed after holiday weekend

    Global stocks were mixed Monday in light trading after Japan reported a record annual trade deficit and investors looked ahead to economic data this week from China and South Korea.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category