February 18

* Republicans are very excited by the new CBO report on the minimum wage, and Zachary Goldfarb flags the key sentence in a useful, even-handed overview of its findings:

The increase in the minimum wage would have two principal effects on low-wage workers: The large majority would have higher wages and family income, but a much smaller group would be jobless and have much lower family income.

The report estimated that the minimum wage hike would likely reduce employment by 500,000 workers, while boosting earnings for 16.5 million workers and lifting 900,000 out of poverty.

* But the White House disputes the finding about reduced employment, arguing that it is at odds with the economic consensus, while simultaneously touting CBO’s finding that it would mean a raise for many millions.

* Jared Bernstein offers a measured take on the CBO’s findings, making the crucial point that all policies involve tradeoffs, while concluding:

The most important finding is that on balance, low- and moderate-income Americans are big winners from a higher minimum wage, which would raise earnings and incomes, lower poverty and inequality, and do so at no net cost to the federal budget.

* And Nancy Pelosi is renewing her push for a “discharge petition” to force a House vote on a minimum wage hike, a sign Dems won’t let the CBO report dissuade their belief the issue remains a winner for them.

* As Teresa Tritch explains, even if Dems did manage to get the minimum waged raised to $10.10 per hour, it would still be low by economic benchmarks and historical standards.

* Paul Krugman marks the fifth anniversary of the stimulus by noting a key fact about the Obama era: It helped turn the economy around, but because it was too small and fell short, it also cast doubt on the liberal argument about government spending and jobs, a problem we’re still dealing with today.

* Like Steve Benen, I find it puzzling that more and more Republicans are coming out openly for “job lock,” as if that’s somehow a political winner for them.

* Like Jonathan Cohn, I find it puzzling when Karl Rove, of all people, lectures Obamacare’s architects about fiscal responsibility.

* Sophie Novack has the latest on the legislative stalemate in Arkansas over whether to implement its version of the Medicaid expansion, an outcome that could result in 100,000 more people getting (or not getting) health coverage.

* Meanwhile, one Arkansas Republican freely admits he’s hoping for a reduction in the number who enroll for coverage.

* A new Public Policy Polling survey finds that in Louisiana, majorities agree with embattled Senator Mary Landrieu on the minimum wage hike, including over 60 percent of independents and big chunks of the Dem base. Keep an eye on the minimum wage as a mobilizer of core Dem groups, especially downscale women, even in red states.

* The Center for Responsive Politics finds that significantly more outside cash is flowing into ads against Dem Alex Sink in Florida’s 13th district than is backing ads against her GOP opponent David Jolly. Sink is favored, but come on, folks: the amount of significance being accorded this single special election is ludicrous.

* And a good Kevin Drum takedown of Jonah Goldberg’s latest on Obama and his (shocker) flagrant abuse of executive authority via the EPA. Note Drum’s litany ways Republicans haven’t been terribly respectful of governing norms.

What else?