Donald Lambro

But the Republicans place their "highest importance on unemployment and the economy, with healthcare [i.e., Obamacare] and government in the third and fourth spots, respectively."

In an earlier column, I concluded that the passage of the debt limit increase and a budget was refocusing the voters on the issues Democrats fear most: the sluggish economy, a weak job market and Obamacare.

Gallup's poll, in part, confirms my analysis: "Now that the shutdown is over and the government has successfully passed a budget and avoided another debt ceiling shutdown, Americans appear to have shifted their focus away from the government and back to the still relatively weak job market."

But with the dysfunctional government and health care, right behind.

The second report this week came from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office which crunched the numbers on Obama's proposal to raise the minimum wage to more than $10. It wasn't a report that the White House or the Democrats would have written.

CBO's analysis said the proposal would raise wages by $31 billion and lift 900,000 Americans out of poverty. But it would also erase an estimated 500,000 jobs because the higher minimum would force struggling businesses to cut their payroll or reduce future hiring.

However, while most of the news media focused on the two main jobs numbers -- 900,000 gained versus 500,000 lost -- a larger number of potential job losses, according to CBO's estimates, got left out of many news reports.

CBO actually estimated that job losses could possibly be as high as one million, but guessed that it would more likely be in the neighborhood of 500,000, pointing out that their figures were, well, estimates.

The fact of the matter is that no one can predict with any accuracy how many business would cut their payrolls. We only know, as CBO attests, that many jobs will be lost and in an economy where jobs are in short-suppy that isn't good.

"This report confirms what we've long known: while helping some, mandating higher wages has real costs, including fewer people working," said Brendan Buck, House Speaker John Boehner's chief spokesman.

"With unemployment Americans' top concern, our focus should be creating -- not destroying -- jobs for those who need them most," he said. Exactly.

An audit by the chief forecasting arm of Congress that concludes the Democrats' jobs plan will add half a million or more working Americans to the unemployment rolls in order to reduce poverty doesn't make any economic or political sense.

No wonder Huffington Post economics blogger Dave Jamieson says CBO's "forecast of job loss may make it more advantageous to Republicans than Democrats in the ongoing discussion."

There are plenty of ways to create jobs that do not put people in the unemployment line. How about cutting taxes for small businesses. Or lowering the income tax rates for all Americans. Or slashing the capital gains tax to unlock venture capital investments in new enterprises

The American people are smart enough to figure out that there's something crazy about a party that says we have to kill jobs in order to create them. Lawmakers who think that need to be sent home for treatment and a long rest.


Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.



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