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Conservatives scramble to spin new economic analysis that shows clear benefits of minimum wage increase

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Ever since President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed into law the United States’ first national minimum wage in 1938, there have been Republicans and fiscal conservatives insisting that minimum wages are a job killer. FDR, however, told Republicans to relax — a mandatory 25 cents per hour wouldn’t destroy the U.S. economy or hamper the success of his New Deal — and 81 years later, a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) study is showing that increasing the national minimum wage to $15 per hour would be economically beneficial. Naturally, fiscal conservatives are scrambling to spin the study to their liking.

The benefits, according to the CBO: Americans living belong the poverty line would see a 5.3% earnings increase, and wages would rise for up to 27.3 million workers. Workers already making more than $15 per hour would likely see their wages rise as well.

That’s the positive part of the CBO’s cost/benefit analysis, which also found that under a $15 minimum wage, Americans would be paying about 0.3% more for goods and services. Business owners would see a higher overhead if they started paying employees more.

But the American Prospect’s David Dayen explains that fiscal conservatives, responding to the study, are spinning it in terms of a “cost-cost” analysis — in other words, they’re highlighting the negatives while glossing over the positives.

For example, a group calling itself the Job Creators Network claims that a $15-per-hour minimum wage, according to the CBO, would bring staggering job losses. Dayen explains, “Though 21 people will get a wage boost for every one that would allegedly lose a job under the CBO’s analysis, the only impacts mentioned are the latter.”

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Dayen stresses that although the CBO analysis of a $15 minimum wage was more positive than negative, other analysis and research on the subject has been even more favorable to such an increase. A study by economists at the University of California at Berkeley found no “adverse effects on employment, weekly hours or annual weeks worked.”

The American Prospect editor explains, “This is what you might call a wealth transfer: well-off people would pay a little bit more for goods, and businesses would lose a little bit more in profits, to finance a wage increase for a substantial segment of the population. Inequality would be reduced by a significant factor. The cost-benefit analysis clearly comes out on the side of benefits.”

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The media got it wrong: There’s no evidence GOP support for Trump improved after his racist outburst

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One of the most popular articles last week involved claims that polls showed Republicans had increased their support of President Trump.  But a closer analysis of the data reveals that any increase in support was within the margin of error.  So the polls couldn’t conclude that GOP support for President Trump had gone up or down.

Polls are tricky creatures.  We either give them near god-like status, or discount them entirely, often depending on whether they show us what we want.

I remember the movie “Machete,” where an opportunistic Texas politician fakes his own shooting.  Within five minutes of that story breaking, the news anchor reported that the politician had drastically improved his standing in the polls.  Surveys don’t work that way.

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Don’t let this presidential pickpocket use cruel verbal assaults to distract you from the truth

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Every presidential election year, Frontline, the superb investigative TV series on PBS, produces an in-depth look at the Democratic and Republican candidates.It’s called “The Choice,” and invariably offers some insights that likely you won’t see anywhere else.

When I first watched the 2016 edition, three things struck me as revelatory—aside from that now infamous Omarosa Manigault soundbite from the program that began, “Every critic, every detractor will have to bow down to President Trump.” Yikes.

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Paralyzed by the God Emperor: As Democrats dither and bicker, the media gets punk’d again

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Over the past few days — which have felt like a runaway elevator ride into hell — there has been a lot of pointless debate about whether Donald Trump’s vicious, false and hateful attacks on Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and the other progressive congresswomen known as “the Squad” will help him or hurt him. I don’t know the answer, but we have to ask ourselves, first of all, what the question means.

This article was originally published at Salon

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