A new report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office poses serious questions about raising the federal minimum wage, an issue backed by President Obama and Congressional Democrats. The report found that raising the hourly wage to $10.10 an hour would result in a loss of 500,000 jobs by the second half of 2016.
The CBO analysis also concluded that a higher minimum wage would lift 900,000 American families out of poverty and increase the incomes of 16.5 million workers.
The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, or an annual salary of $15,080 for a full-time worker.
The last time Congress hiked hourly wages was in July 2009, when President George W. Bush signed a 70-cent increase into law.
The minimum wage debate may be "politically popular" but it's the wrong policy, argues Douglas Holtz-Eakin in the video above. Holtz-Eakin, a former CBO director and currently president of the American Action Forum, says the White House's top priority should be creating jobs.
"It's a very bad time to do this," Holtz-Eakin tells us. "We are in a terrible recovery, and if you want to help poor people you have to get them a job. [Congress] should not raise the minimum wage."
There are nearly 50 million Americans living in poverty, according to the Census Bureau, and the national poverty rate of 15% has barely budged from 2011 to 2012, according to the most recent data avaiable. The CBO report underscores concerns raised by Repulicans and business groups that raising the hourly wage will have little impact on the nation's poverty crisis, says Holtz-Eakin.
Related: How's how to win the War on Poverty
"It's a negative for the economy," he adds. "There are better policies to get us to grow faster ... like the earned income tax credit."
Thirteen states including New Jersey, Washington, Arizona and Florida raised their state minimum wages in 2013 and another 11 are expected to do the same this year. Twenty-one states currently have a higher minimum wage than the federal requirement. President Obama signed an executive order last week that raises the hourly minimum wage for new government contract workers to $10.10 an hour, beginning in 2015.
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