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Minimum wage hike's inconvenient truth

By S.E. Cupp
updated 4:44 PM EST, Mon March 3, 2014
  • S. E. Cupp: New CBO report showing minimum wage hike could cost jobs flummoxes Dems
  • She says GOP has long held what CBO said; Dems are trying to spin hike as poverty-lowering
  • CBO says raising minimum wage could indeed take 900,000 people out of poverty, she says
  • Cupp asks: Is doing that while potentially losing 500,000 jobs worth it?

Editor's note: S.E. Cupp is co-host of "Crossfire," which airs at 6:30 p.m. ET weekdays on CNN. She is also the author of "Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media's Attack on Christianity," co-author of "Why You're Wrong About the Right," a columnist at the New York Daily News and a political commentator for Glenn Beck's "The Blaze."

(CNN) -- The new report out of the Congressional Budget Office confirms what Republicans have said all along: Raising the minimum wage could cost hundreds of thousands of jobs. Under normal circumstances, this would be a devastating blow to the Democrats.

But these are exciting times. Now, evidence of one thing from nonpartisan sources can be mined and manipulated to read as evidence of the opposite. Earlier, when the CBO said the Affordable Care Act could make 2 million Americans less likely to seek work, that was spun by the left as: Obamacare releases 2 million workers from the pressures of "job lock."

S.E. Cupp
S.E. Cupp

The minimum wage report is also being spun. In the moments after the report was released, Democrats were already pulling the "good" bits from the report to tout the strength of their prior arguments.

Both sides do that, of course.

But the problem with this is that the "good" talking point Democrats are celebrating is one that was never questioned. By anyone.

The "revelation" that raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would increase hourly wages for millions of people hardly warrants the "I told you so" Dems want to deliver. It more warrants a "no duh." After all, is anyone truly surprised that paying people more money will mean they make more money?

Where Democrats can't get off so easy is on the news that raising the minimum wage will result in a loss of half a million jobs. Although some will try to shrug that off -- such as @benadgatemusic, who tweeted at me, "oh noooooo .03% of the workforce! Nice concern trolling, S.E." -- most serious folks will recognize that's no small number.

Should the minimum wage be raised?
Is it time to raise the minimum wage?
Obama: Raising wage is good for business

But time and time again, Democrats have insisted that raising the minimum wage will not result in less hiring despite everything you or I have ever learned about supply and demand economics.

Paul Krugman, for example: "The great preponderance of the evidence from these natural experiments points to little if any negative effect of minimum wage increases on employment."

Robert Reich, for another: "It has been raised consistently, and it has never actually killed jobs. In fact, there has been no relationship between raising the minimum wage and losing jobs."

President Barack Obama: There's "no solid evidence that a higher minimum wage costs jobs."

This puts Democrats in a tricky position. Instead of being a little less committed to an economic principle they should have known to be false, they doubled down. Now they're left explaining not only why raising the minimum wage is still a good idea but why they didn't seem to anticipate these findings.

They can spin this all they want. And I'll even throw them a bone -- the report also says that raising the minimum wage will reduce the number of people living in poverty by an estimated 900,000. That's a good thing.

The question we have to ask ourselves: Would that be that worth the potential loss of 500,000 jobs?

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The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of S.E. Cupp.

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