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Mackinac Center drone cites public relations firm in bashing a higher minumum wage

by: Eric B.

Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 13:12:29 PM EST

Mackinac Center drones are pretty famous for strictly sticking in house when they want to attack something. If they want to attack something, rather than going out and finding an actual expert, they usually just ask the guy down the hall and cite that person as an expert. Easy peasy, as the kids say.

Anyway, one of the Mackinac Center drones wrote an article yesterday in response to an article circulating that said that Democrats plan to make a hike to the minimum wage a central campaign issue this year. The article, naturally took a dim view of raising the minimum wage.

The Employment Policies Institute of Washington, D.C., has done a state-by-state analysis of the consequences of imposing a $9 minimum wage mandate. EPI has been around for 20 years and is a research institute that focuses its work on entry level employment. Among other findings, EPI reports that nearly 42 percent of all Michigan hourly workers who would be affected by a $9 minimum wage still live with their parents or other relatives.

Well, first of all, the idea that 58 percent of all minimum wage earners don't live with their parents or other relatives should jump out at you. The argument against raising the minimum wage is that the people who work those jobs are all high school kids looking to build new skills, so they don't deserve a higher wage because they don't need it.

The next paragraph starts out:

According to EPI, ...

Oh yeah, the people who the Mackinac Center drone cited as having deduced that more than half of all minimum wage earners aren't high school students who live at home. Who are these guys? From their website.

Employment Policies Institute
1090 Vermont Ave. NW, Suite 800
Washington, D.C. 20005
Tel: 202.463.7650

It's worth noting that the EPI doesn't refer to itself as a think tank on its "About us" page. If you plug the address into Ye Olde Google machine, you learn why from this other result that turns up. The Employment Policies Institute is run out of a Washington D.C. public relations firm office. The Mackinac Center essentially quoted an elaborate press release in making the case against a higher minimum wage. But wait, there's more.

The Employment Policies Institute (EPI) is one of several front groups created by Berman & Co., a Washington, DC public affairs firm owned by Rick Berman, who lobbies for the restaurant, hotel, alcoholic beverage and tobacco industries. While most commonly referred to as EPI, it is registered as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization under the name of "Employment Policies Institute Foundation." In its annual Internal Revenue Service return, EPI states that it "shares office space with Berman & Company on a cost pass through basis".

The Sourcewatch section on the non-profits created by Rick Berman is most illuminating. From the History section (I really encourage you to go read this yourself).

In 1992, Los Angeles Times business columnist Harry Bernstein noted that EPI was using "misleading studies" to help put a positive spin on rising unemployment. "The conservative EPI, financed mostly by low-wage companies such as hotels and restaurants, is issuing reports the titles of which alone could help put a bright face on the miserable job scene," Bernstein wrote. "The latest one is 'The Value of Part-Time Workers to the American Economy.' It hails as a great thing the distressing growth of part-time jobs because they offer 'flexibility' in economic planning for both workers and companies, and say that flexibility is vital 'in the growing and increasingly competitive global economy.' Tell that nonsense to the more than 6.5 million workers forced to take part-time jobs because nothing else is available. That is an increase of more than 1.5 million involuntary part-timers since 1990, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says." EPI has been doing more or less the same thing ever since, sponsoring cooked studies and issuing tendentious sound bytes whenever attempts are made to establish healthcare or better wages for workers.

In other words, the Mackinac Center drone who wrote the article managed to find an even less credible source than the usual "Guy down the hall" they normally use (and, indeed, are used elsewhere in the article).

None of that really matters if the data is sound. As is usual, here is where things start to get a little dodgy. There is no direct link in the Mackinac Center article to the study it cites, the EPI page set up for a state-by-state analysis has no data for Michigan, and there is no link available to the actual Census survey study that claims that most everyone who earns a minimum wage is doing pretty well. And, just as an aside, if 42 percent of all minimum wage earners live at home or with other relatives, this means that 42 percent of the overall sample who live at home probably do so with parents who if both work probably have an annual income of more than $100,000. I did a search for the report in question, and found a site that says it has the right data. The problem is that for 2012, there are a dozen reports (each one from each month). But, nobody has bothered to say which data set was used to verify their results.

Anyone want to hazard a guess as to why?


Eric B. :: Mackinac Center drone cites public relations firm in bashing a higher minumum wage
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My first question
While that's nice, what the average age?

Cause there are huge amount of twenty somethings, still living at home cause they can't find job that would aloud them to move on with there lives.

I know some people, well into their twenties and making more than minimum wage, still living with the parental units, because they're trying to get the money together to move out.

Saying 42% are living with their parents (whether true or not), is supposed to summon up visions of 16 and 17 year olds working weekends and summers to make some spending money. Tell me how many are living with their parents and are still in high school or recently (like in the last 3 or so months) graduated, and maybe that will be relevant to the debate.

[ Parent ]
According to government statistics, the median age is 28
This infographic, which is based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data, also says that one-fourth of fast food workers are parents; and that the lowest-paid workers in the industry fall below the poverty line even if they're given 40 hours of work every week.

And according to another study, 50 percent of fast-food workers receive some form of public assistance.

This industry is a classic example of privatizing the profits and socializing the costs.

A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul.

[ Parent ]
At the moment I am reading "Rise of the Creative Class, Revisited" by Richard Florida.  

The passages I've most recently read were delving into how the largest plurality of American workers fell into the Working Class in previous generations, but the Service Class now holds the most American workers.

Those that profit from (and are paid / receive campaign contributions to protect those profits; see EPI, above or Ryan and Walker, below, as examples) the labor of the Service Class are trying to push this outdated narrative about McDonald's being an after-school job, not a breadwinner job (just look at Paul Ryan and Scott Walker discuss their teenage McDonald's experiences in Wisconsin).

That mental impression may resonate with many Americans who grew up when the plurality of breadwinner jobs were Working Class (manufacturing, et al), but that is no longer the country we live in...

Besides, adjusted for inflation, those service sector employees that may have been earning minimum wage in 1968 were earning today's equivalent of over $10.00.

Great Lakes, Great Times.

[ Parent ]
I have to wonder...
what is it they fear? Employers routinely deal with changing costs for material, transportation, energy, etc. without much drama, but a wage increase will put them out of business? Not only that, any businessman will tell you that a customer with no money is not much of a customer. There is ample data showing that increasing the minimum wage boosts economic activity across the board, and since their competitors would have to pay the same minimum, the playing field is still level. And unless you believe that employers hire people just because they can, no jobs will be lost. In fact, if what they tell you in Econ 101 is true, employment will rise as spending increases.

So, what is it? What terrible thing do they think will happen if their workers, and all other workers, earn a living wage?  

Because they are short sighted and stupid
[ Parent ]

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