Ladies and gentlemen, Garland Hale Barr IV:
Andy Barr’s model for Kentucky is North Dakota proving yet again that Andy Barr doesn’t understand the basic economy of Kentucky — or, for that matter, North Dakota. But we’ll get back to that…
A week ago, Mitch McConnell told a group of TV advertising professionals (McConnell’s campaign and their aligned groups are dropping over a million dollars each week in TV advertising so it was nice of him to talk to them) that if he makes it back to the US Senate as the Majority Leader, he will allow votes on the minimum wage:
He promised to restore order to the U.S. Senate, allow votes on legislation he might not support, force President Barack Obama to sign or veto legislation for “a growth agenda,” and joked about the expense of running a U.S. Senate campaign. […]
[D]oes that mean he’d allow votes on such things as the minimum wage which Democrats generally support (including Grimes) and which Republicans generally oppose?
“Yes,” McConnell said.
Mitch McConnell’s can’t have it both ways. Either he’s going to allow votes on the minimum wage or, as he said at the Koch brother’s secretly recorded Billionairepalooza, he’s going to grind the government further to a halt and block votes on the minimum wage and a host of other “gosh darn proposals.”
“We’re not going to be debating all these gosh darn proposals. That’s all we do in the Senate is vote on things like raising the minimum wage.”
One way or another — Mitch McConnell is lying.
Last February, Mitch McConnell made clear that if there ever is such a vote, he would vote against any increase in the minimum wage — not even a penny.
Throughout his thirty year career, McConnell has worked to block raises in the minimum wage time and again, each time claiming that such a wage would only help people who didn’t need help and would absolutely cripple the American economy. It’s the argument he made in February 2014 and it is the exact same argument he made in 1988:
The argument that raising the minimum wage to $3.35/hr in 1988 would have crippled the economy is provably false given that it’s now 26 years later and of all the things that have come close to crippling the economy, none of them has been the minimum wage.
Mitch McConnell was horrifically wrong in his analysis in 1988 and there’s no reason any serious person should trust he’s correct this time. Twenty six years later, Mitch McConnell is using the exact same argument to explain why this time raising the minimum wage will cripple the US economy.
Think about that for a second. Mitch McConnell has been making the same arguments against raising the minimum wage for 26 years — there are now eight years worth of new voters who weren’t even born in 1988. Mitch McConnell’s argument isn’t just stale, it’s been sitting in the way back of your grandmother’s closet inside a box of mothballs.
Mitch McConnell isn’t just recycling his own 26 year old argument against raising the minimum wage, he’s recycling the original argument against raising a the minimum wage — a 76 year old argument against even having a minimum wage:
The minimum wage has been controversial since it was established at 25 cents an hour by the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which also banned most forms of child labor. Business leaders at the time warned the law would ruin the economy. It “constitutes a step in the direction of communism, bolshevism, fascism and Nazism,” said the National Association of Manufacturers.
On the one hand, that’s laughable. On the other, it’s overwhelmingly sad.
Either Mitch McConnell believes that bolshevism has destroyed the American economy for the past 80 years (a post-minimum wage era which saw the rise of the middle class)… or Mitch McConnell is lying.
It’s not just Mitch McConnell. That passage above comes from John Cheves’ recent must read report on the stark differences between Republican Congressman Andy Barr and his opponent Elisabeth Jensen.
In an age when political races are often run too safely, devoid of any actual vision and consisting only of a battle between idiotic talking points and an even dumber volley of attack ads, the 6th District Congressional contest between Andy Barr with his Wall Street millions and Elisabeth Jensen’s grassroots pull-em-up-by-the-bootstraps campaign offers two very distinct and very different world views.
One such differences between Barr and Jensen is on the minimum wage. As you saw in the video above, Andy Barr is opposes the minimum wage.
Andy Barr and Mitch McConnell are clearly playing out of the same playbook. Both men like to claim that raising the minimum wage will “kill” half a million jobs, and to claim this, they point to a CBO report from earlier this year.
Here again, Andy Barr and Mitch McConnell are lying. For a party that claims to be economically sound, their inability to understand statistics and economic analysis is astounding.
The CBO report, which Republicans love to selectively quote, offers a range of outcomes for potential job losses, and that range runs from basically zero to one million. The 500,000 figure that’s in the CBO report, as the CBO makes clear, is — and this is advanced mathematics here so bear with me — simply the plucked midpoint of their potential forecast. Raising the Minimum Wage could cost 500,000 jobs, but it could also cost essentially zero.
Regardless of whether 5 jobs are lost or 500 or 500,000, that loss is a tiny fraction of the overall benefit. Even if 5 million jobs were lost, and the CBO sees absolutely zero evidence to suggest that anything even remotely close to that outcome is even within the realm of possibility, the overall effect of an increased minimum wage is positive across the board.
The CBO report clearly states that 16.5 million workers would benefit from an increase in the minimum wage.
Andy Barr and Mitch McConnell either have a reading comprehension problem, or they are lying.
The CBO report clearly states that an additional 8.1 million workers who now make slightly more than $10/hr now would also receive a raise thanks to a spillover effect.
So that’s now 24,000,000 Americans who would benefit from the raise. Mitch McConnell and Andy Barr are using an uncertain “guesstimate” from the CBO to block raising the incomes of a considerably more certain CBO estimate of 24 million people.
Fun Math Fact: The “500,000″ jobs Barr and McConnell are pretending to “save” is just 2% of the 24 million Americans who would benefit.
The Barr/McConnell lie about jobs “killed” is not only erroneously plucked from a February report, it’s also statistically questionable based on numbers made available in July. All 13 states that raised the minimum wage on January 1st showed higher rates of job creation over the first six months of this year than states that did not raise the minimum wage. Based on these numbers, not only is the selectively plucked CBO number inflated, it could be completely incorrect. Raising the wage, based on available evidence, actually creates jobs.
Barr and McConnell are also lying about who would benefit. While they claim that those who would get a raise are just about bunch of lousy teenagers, the fact is — again, the CBO clearly states — just 12% of these low wage workers are teenagers, 10% of them have a college degree and more than half work full time.
Fun Math Fact: 88% of the American workforce earning at or near the minimum wage are 20 years old or older.
The same CBO report that Barr and McConnell are selectively quoting also makes clear that 65% of the increase in income from an increased minimum wage would go to families with incomes three times below the poverty line.
And the CBO also made clear that 900,000 people would be lifted out of poverty simply by raising the minimum wage. That’s a net gain from the CBO. Other serious economists say it may be over 5,000,000 Americans.
In opposing an increase in the minimum wage, Andy Barr and Mitch McConnell are also denying help to 1,000,000 of Americas veterans.
Now… let’s get back to that video of Congressman Andy Barr at the debate with his opponent, Elisabeth Jensen.
Here, Garland H. Barr IV argues that while it’s factually accurate that the thirteen states that have raised the minimum wage have created jobs at a higher rate than states that haven’t, Andy Barr points to North Dakota.
This is classic Andy Barr.
North Dakota has indeed seen job increases despite the fact that the state refuses to raise the minimum wage. But the fact that North Dakota is enjoying job growth isn’t due to “fiscal conservatism” or “getting back to the economic principles that founded this country” but rather due to luck and technology. North Dakota is enjoying a massive oil boom. They’re producing so much oil that they are in the process simply burning off over a billion dollars worth of natural gas each year. Kentucky doesn’t have that market — and it’s not because of the government, it’s because the coal in the hills is running out and natural gas has become cheaper than coal and coal in Western states has become more abundant and the jobs and the suppliers and the manufacturers are all going to go to the places where those jobs are… places like North Dakota where many of the jobs barely require a high school degree and where oil companies are making a killing via horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing… none of which are viable options for Kentucky. Andy Barr’s comparison is either economically naive, fiscally ignorant or… yes, he’s just lying about the minimum wage.