Tom Steyer Promises $22 Minimum Wage After CBO Predicted $15 Would Cost 1.3 Million Jobs

REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Virginia Kruta Associate Editor
Font Size:

Democratic presidential hopeful Tom Steyer announced Sunday that his platform would include a plan to more than triple the federal minimum wage.

Steyer called for a $22-per-hour minimum wage during a campaign block party in South Carolina.

The current federal minimum wage is $7.25, although 29 states — and Washington D.C. — have independently raised the minimum wage in an effort to keep pace with the cost of living. Several of Steyer’s Democratic rivals have come out in support of a $15 minimum wage. (RELATED: House Approves $15 Minimum Wage Bill)

But according to a prediction from the Congressional Budget Office, even the bump to $15 is likely to cost well over one million Americans their jobs.

In an average week in 2025, the $15 option would boost the wages of 17 million workers who would otherwise earn less than $15 per hour. Another 10 million workers otherwise earning slightly more than $15 per hour might see their wages rise as well. But 1.3 million other workers would become jobless, according to CBO’s median estimate.

Additionally, while the $15 minimum wage was projected to possibly lift up to 1.3 million Americans above the poverty line, the highest estimates suggested that it could cost as many as 3.7 million jobs.

The CBO estimates saw more modest gains with potential minimum wages set at $12 and $10 hourly, respectively, but also predicted fewer job losses.