Thursday, March 6, 2014

Another minimum wage fail by righties in Wisconsin

I see the right-wing slime at Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and other greedhead business groups are trying to twist reality when it comes to raising the minimum wage. The oligarch group held a press conference yesterday claiming it had evidence that a minimum-wage increase would be a job-killer in Wisconsin and that people didn't really support it, and the Milwaukee Business Journal dutifully reported on this press conference, including information from the study that WMC used to back up its claims. But unlike the Business Journal, I'm going to give a little context to that study, the stink tank that did the study, and the dishonesty that was part of the poll that allegedly showed Wisconsinites opposed raising the wage.

First, here are WMC's claims, as part of their press release on the issue.
Wisconsin could lose more than 27,000 jobs if a $10.10 per hour minimum wage was passed into law, according to a new study. Four leading business associations used the study’s findings along with poll data during a news conference held in the Capitol Wednesday to urge lawmakers to oppose a government imposed wage hike.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke and legislative Democrats have proposed a $10.10 per hour state minimum wage, up from $7.25 an hour. A study by the Employment Policies Institute (EPI), a non-profit research organization in Washington, D.C., found that Wisconsin could lose more than 27,000 jobs if the minimum wage were hiked that much. Those figures are consistent with the findings of a recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report that predicted the loss of 500,000 jobs nationwide if the minimum wage was increased to $10.10 per hour....

“The data is clear that raising the minimum wage will result in substantial job loss for Wisconsin employees,” said Scott Manley, Vice President of Government Relations for WMC. “When voters learn that increasing the minimum wage is a job killer, they quickly abandon support for this misguided proposal.” WMC is Wisconsin’s Chamber of Commerce.

Last week, The Tarrance Group of Alexandria, Va. surveyed 505 likely voters statewide for WMC and asked if they supported the $10.10 per hour minimum wage. The survey found that 53 percent support the proposal initially, but support drops to 39 percent when voters are told of the 27,000 lost jobs. After learning that single piece of information, 51 percent of voters oppose the plan, Manley said.
A whole lot to debunk here. First of all, the "academic study" mentioned is from the Employment Policies Institute. One Wisconsin Now looked into this group and found they were
a front group that receives funding from the Bradley Foundation, headed by Walker's campaign co-chair Michael Grebe, and that is associated with Washington, D.C. lobbyist for the restaurant, hotel, liquor and tobacco industries and PR firm owner, Rick Berman.
Sketchy enough, but the data they cite is even weaker than this group's "objectivity". The claims of job loss should be compared to the Congressional Budget Office, which analyzed the effects of such a mimimum wage increase last month. The CBO admitted raising the wage would result in a minor job loss, stating
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....
Naturally, the Employment Policies Institute assumes the worst-case scenario of a million jobs being lost, and extrapolates 27,000 Wisconsin job losses out of that (2.7% of the job losses seems like a lot when Wisconsin has 1.8% of the U.S. population, but I'll humor them). And that 27,000 figure was thrown out to "inform" people answering the poll that WMC cited. In reality, that number will probably be much lower.

Even more important is what was intentionally LEFT OUT of that poll, including this finding from the CBO.
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 earnings 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.

The increased earnings for low-wage workers resulting from the higher minimum wage would total $31 billion, by CBO’s estimate.
Neither were those polled told about this part of the CBO study.
[Under a $10.10 minimum wage], 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).
Hmmm, if all people were told about a minimum wage increase was that over 16 million workers would get pay raises and that poverty would be reduced by nearly 1 million people, what do you think support would be? 70%? 80%? That's the left-wing version of doing what WMC's paid pollster did.

What WMC is undetaking is a classic example of a push poll, which is done when an organization wants a certain outcome on a poll, and then uses that "data" as a way to try to catapult their propaganda and/or show their policies are supported. Since us on the left tend to care about observing reality and coming up with solutions to meet the problems that exist in that reality, we don't tend to run with push polls like oligarchs that favor low-wage indentured servitude do.

But then again, I am Jake's complete lack of surprise when it comes to finding out that a right-wing organization would cherry-pick data from stink tank studies to try to show their policies work, and then relay that information through Right-Wing Bubble world. Because if righties had to give honest data about the results of their failed policies, they'd never win another election, and grabbing money and power are the two items those guys can't live without.

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