Fact Check: Is $15 minimum wage really killing Seattle jobs?

Aug 11, 2015, 9:01 PM | Updated: Aug 12, 2015, 10:04 am
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The Seattle City Council will likely pass a new law to help protect workers in the city. (AP)

Is the Seattle joblessness rate climbing because of the $15 minimum wage? That’s the claim coming out of The Daily Caller. This is a clear case for the Jason Rantz Show fact checking machine.

Connor Wolf reports:

According to a report released Sunday by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the $15 minimum wage has caused Seattle restaurants to lose 1,000 jobs – the worst decline since the 2009 Great Recession.

So is this true? Not really. On the Jason Rantz Show it would get a “meh” result, which is what we do when there is a half truth, followed by a claim of causality that isn’t really there.

It is true that the data shows the decline. But there is zero evidence to suggest it’s due to the $15 minimum wage.

First off, they only based their data on one month’s worth of job losses and the data doesn’t look just at Seattle. It also includes data from Tacoma and Bellevue, two cities that haven’t experienced the $15 minimum wage hike. That perverts the data.

Additionally, the $15 minimum wage hasn’t even gone into effect yet. It’s at $11 and restaurants saw this coming.

Related: They asked for a higher wage, but now they want fewer hours

For some, it didn’t make any difference in the world. Tom Douglas told us that most of his employees already make more than $15 an hour. For others, they adapted early. In April we spoke with Bob Donegan of Ivar’s, who says they were able to deal with the minimum wage hike by raising prices just a little, plus a surcharge in place of tips, and he claims it’s worked. Other businesses, like Rene Erickson’s restaurants, added a surcharge; it didn’t work so well the first time, so they bumped it up.

But we haven’t seen some mass exodus of jobs. AEI doesn’t even say what the Daily Caller says. They hedge a bit and say that it’s essentially too soon to come to any meaningful conclusion. Why? One month of data isn’t meaningful. That isn’t a trend. It’s one month.

I preach on my show, every night, that in order to be a better consumer of news, you need to fact check everything, which includes making sure you understand the source. Understand the Daily Caller is not a news site. It’s an opinion site that pretends they’re a news site; it’s a far to the right website. And you should go there. You should also go to far left sites. And down the middle news sites. Get different perspectives. But understand the context in which you’re being delivered the news. The Daily Caller doesn’t like the $15 minimum wage – for what it’s worth, neither do I – and they’re analysis is bias to push their perspective.

Related: Income inequality? No surprises in Seattle

Does any of this mean there will be no consequences to the minimum wage hike? Absolutely not. As much as the pro-labor activists want to believe there will be no consequences, they’re as ideologically driven as The Daily Caller and have their heads just as deep in the sand.

We’ve already seen some consequences, and we’re likely to see more moving forward. The market will either adjust and fix them, or we’ll see some problems where the employees are impacted. My fear is the employee will suffer, but I’ll happily be proven wrong. Only time will tell. Until then? Dismiss the nonsense.

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
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Fact Check: Is $15 minimum wage really killing Seattle jobs?