First Obamacare, then the proposed minimum wage hike – it has been a rough month for Democratic policies regarding job growth, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Sunday.
“The CBO just came out this week and showed the proposal they’re all hanging their hat on would cost the American people about half a million jobs,” Walker told TheBlaze, referring to a federal minimum wage hike. “That’s on top of the 2.5 million we’re going to loose from Obamacare. I think their policies are heading us toward greater job loss. Our policies are about helping the private sector create more jobs.”
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, often considered the gold standard for analyzing government policies, delivered two devastating assessments to the Obama administration this month.
First, the CBO found that 2.5 million people would leave the work force in order to qualify for subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. The White House and Democrats contended that the law essentially “liberated” people from their jobs.
Last week, the CBO estimated that if the federal minimum wage were increased to $10.10 per hour, as President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats are advocating, between 500,000 and 1 million would lose their jobs. The same CBO study found this would lift 16.5 million above the national poverty level.
Walker, who was in Washington this weekend for the National Governors Association, is widely considered a likely GOP presidential candidate in 2016. He twice denied to talk about that in an interview with TheBlaze. But, he touted his pro-growth policies in Wisconsin as having a demonstrated record of success.
“I’ve said this repeatedly to other Republicans, I think any Republican who is talking about anything other than 2014 is doing a disservice not only to the party but to the country,” said Walker, who is up for reelection this year. “Not only because you have so many governors up but I think we have a real opportunity to take back the United States Senate. So from my standpoint, I’m certainly making the case what we did in Wisconsin was done because we put a team in of Republican reformers that helped turn the state around. We need to have a team here in Washington who can do the same thing.”
If he’s successful this year, Walker – a conservative who has a national name for taking on the public employee unions – will have won three statewide elections in a blue state. In 2012, Walker fended off a union-backed recall election, winning by a bigger margin than he won in 2010.
Another likely 2016 contender, Maryland’s Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley, touted minimum wage hikes at both the federal and state levels.
“We understand that prosperity does not trickle down from the top and it never has,” O’Malley told reporters after he and a group of Democrats met with Obama at the White House Friday. “Prosperity is built from the middle out and the middle up. In Maryland this year we are seeking to raid our minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. I know that these debates are happening in a number of states and metropolitan areas in cities across the country. The truth of the matter is, when workers earn more, businesses have more customers and our economy grows.”
The Democratic Governors Association is focusing heavily on the minimum wage hike as a strategy, as members talked to reporters after their White House gathering.
TheBlaze asked if such as issue could fire up organized labor in his state, which has been Walker’s biggest opponent.
“What we’ve shown is our policies help the people of our state create jobs that far exceed in many cases two or more times what they are proposing,” Walker said. “What we’re focused on is helping employers create jobs at much higher wages.”
“In fact, not only has my economy improved and my surplus been created by more employees working and more employers hiring, but personal income is up 4.5 percent in my state, which suggests our policies are raising the standards of living without an artificial mandate by the federal government,” Walker continued.
While most polls show popular support for a minimum wage hike, Walker said he expects the estimates for job losses could change that.
“I think the bigger issue, if you ask people in the public, do they want more jobs, that’s the number one issue I hear all the time,” Walker said. “The simple fact is, if you’re a party that doesn’t have a very good plan for how the private sector should create more jobs, you hang your hat on a bumper sticker item like this as opposed to coming out with comprehensive plans that will help people create more work.”
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