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Sperling defends minimum wage hike, disagrees with CBO report

National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling defended President Obama’s plan to raise the minimum wage for federal workers on Wednesday, arguing the administration disagrees with the jobs prediction in the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report.

The CBO released a report on Tuesday that says raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour could cost 500,000 jobs in 2016.

“On jobs, this is an area where we respectfully disagree with the CBO, but we have enormous admiration for the institution and their professionalism,” Sperling said Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” 

Jason Furman, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, on Tuesday said economists would arrive at a different conclusion than the CBO's. 

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"What’s uncontroversial is that this would give a raise to about 25 million Americans who are working hard every day,” Sperling said, adding that 2 million people could be brought out of poverty.

Eight million people who currently make $10.10 an hour now would also get a bump, Sperling said. 

A handful of Nobel Prize winners have endorsed this, Sperling said, because the increase “will increase productivity, morale and retention.”

The minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour and would be increased incrementally to $10.10 by 2016, and then would be indexed.

“It recognizes that we as a country have let the minimum wage get much too low,” said Sperling, whose last day at the White House is March 5.