What Fresh Hell Is This?

February 20, 2014

The Minimum Wage, The Trib, The CBO And The Spin

This was to be expected, I guess.  Given the spin from the rest of the right wing media regarding the CBO's report on raising the minimum wage, I'm not surprised that Scaife's braintrust would join in on the spin to misinform its many readers.

This time, like so many others, they spin by omitting some rather important information.

Here's what they had to say today about the CBO's report:
On Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) stated the obvious: The Obama administration's proposal to raise the federal minimum wage by 40 percent — from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 — would lead to the elimination of 500,000 jobs and leave up to 1 million people unemployed.
Um, that's not exactly what the report said.  You'll note that they put the numbers of unemployed between 500,000 and up to a million.

But take a look at this chart from the CBO's own FAQ regarding the report:



See that lowest row?  The one that says "Likely Range"?  See that  middle column?  The one that says "$10.10 option"?  Where they intersect it says the likely range would be a "Very slight decrease to -1.0 million workers."  See that?  The range isn't between a half million and a million.  By leaving out the lower half of the range (the less unpleasant half, of course) Scaife's braintrust is spinning its readership with the bad news.

And of course, it leaves out any of the good.

Here's the section of the CBO report outlining the effects of the $10.10 option on employment.  And  the only paragraph they want you to know about:
Effects of the $10.10 Option on Employment and Income. Once fully implemented in the second half of 2016, the $10.10 option would reduce total employment by about 500,000 workers, or 0.3 percent, CBO projects. As with any such estimates, however, the actual losses could be smaller or larger; in CBO’s assessment, there is about a two-thirds chance that the effect would be in the range between a very slight reduction in employment and a reduction in employment of 1.0 million workers.
  But guess what's in the very next paragraph?  This:
Many more low-wage workers would see an increase in their earnings. Of those workers who will earn up to $10.10 under current law, most—about 16.5 million, according to CBO’s estimates—would have higher earn- ings during an average week in the second half of 2016 if the $10.10 option was implemented. Some of the people earning slightly more than $10.10 would also have higher earnings under that option, for reasons discussed below. Further, a few higher-wage workers would owe their jobs and increased earnings to the heightened demand for goods and services that would result from the minimum- wage increase.
And then there's this stuff the braintrust decided you didn't need to see:
The increased earnings for low-wage workers resulting from the higher minimum wage would total $31 billion, by CBO’s estimate.
And this:
Real income would increase, on net, by $5 billion for families whose income will be below the poverty threshold under current law, boosting their average family income by about 3 percent and moving about 900,000 people, on net, above the poverty threshold (out of the roughly 45 million people who are projected to be below that threshold under current law)
Why point that out?  Check out the last word given to the Employment Policies Institute by the braintrust:
The bottom line, concludes Michael Saltsman, research director of the Employment Policies Institute: The truly impoverished will not enjoy a large share of any higher earnings but they will bear the brunt of increased unemployment.
Yea, exactly right - all except for raising nearly a million over the poverty line and an increase in earnings for low-wage workers by about $31 billion.

And who is this "Employment Policies Institute" anyway?  From the New York Times:
Just four blocks from the White House is the headquarters of the Employment Policies Institute, a widely quoted economic research center whose academic reports have repeatedly warned that increasing the minimum wage could be harmful, increasing poverty and unemployment.

But something fundamental goes unsaid in the institute’s reports: The nonprofit group is run by a public relations firm that also represents the restaurant industry, as part of a tightly coordinated effort to defeat the minimum wage increase that the White House and Democrats in Congress have pushed for.

“The vast majority of economic research shows there are serious consequences,” Michael Saltsman, the institute’s research director, said in an interview, before he declined to list the restaurant chains that were among its contributors.
So the spin's understandable.

It's called a lie of omission, my friends.  And that's what Scaife's braintrust is doing to you.  Again.

1 comment:

Thomas Heuer said...

I have heard the same tired argument that raising the minimum wage will cost thousands if not millions of jobs. It never pans out. The fact is each business determines how many employees it needs to do the job of their business. So if they want to continue to do their business they need to continue with the employees they have or competition will overcome them.