Battle over minimum wage goes to White House

You don't need a fortune teller to know that a business-backed group is twisting its cherry-picked facts in its latest ad attacking any increase in the federal minimum wage.

The ad features a fortune teller gazing into a crystal ball and telling an actor impersonating President Barack Obama that "I see a lot of people losing their jobs" if the minimum wage is increased. The ad is sponsored by the Employment Policy Institute, a Washington-based group with long standing ties to the fast food industry and other businesses, and a long history of opposing increases in the minimum wage.

The Congressional Budget Office said was that its "central estimate" is that 500,000 jobs would be lost. The "likely range" is anywhere between a loss of a million jobs and a "very slight" job loss. So the ad's fortune teller could just as accurately have said, "I see very few people losing their jobs," based on CBO's report. That's just as likely as a million-job loss. The EPI ad's fortune teller also fails to mention: Families that are now in poverty would gain $5 billion in real income, moving about 900,000 people above the poverty threshold; average real (inflation-adjusted) income would increase for families in all income groups below six times the poverty level; and families that are at or above six times the poverty level in 2016 - which would be $144,600 or more for a family of four - real income would decrease by 0.4 percent, due mainly to higher prices and lower business profits.

Footnote: When the time for a vote arrived, Senate Republicans blocked the $10.10 minimum wage proposal with a filibuster. A majority of 54 Senators favored proceeding to consideration of the measure, but on a mostly party-line vote, 42 opposed. So Democrats fell short of the 60 votes needed to proceed.

Gardner vs. Udall

Colorado Democratic Sen. Mark Udall is expected to face Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., in November. Udall recently released a 30-second ad attacking Gardner on abortion and birth control. "Congressman Cory Gardner's history promoting harsh anti-abortion laws is disturbing," the narrator says. "Gardner sponsored a bill to make abortion a felony, including cases of rape and incest. Gardner even championed an eight-year crusade to outlaw birth control here in Colorado."

In 2006, Colorado Right to Life asked all politicians running for office if they supported the Right to Life Act in Congress, "recognizing that personhood begins at fertilization." Gardner, then a first-term state representative answered yes. Since getting elected to Congress in 2010, Gardner has co-sponsored the Life Begins at Conception Act in 2012 and 2013, which was described as federal personhood legislation. Gardner's campaign notes that in 2007, he was one of five to cosponsor an anti-abortion measure in Colorado that specified that "nothing in this section shall prohibit the sale, use, prescription or administration of a contraceptive measure, device, drug or chemical." This bill, his campaign said, demonstrates that while Gardner is pro-life, he is not anti-contraceptive. Cohen, a Harvard professor, told PolitiFact that "it is unclear that the Colorado 2008 and 2010 referendums were intended to 'outlaw birth control in Colorado' - that's what the word 'crusade' seems to imply. It is more clear that the language of those amendments might have outlawed some forms of birth control, whether that was the goal or not." Udall's ad is partially accurate but leaves out important details. Politifact rates it "Half True."

Chip Tuthill lives in Mancos. Websites used: and