In the world of progressive politics, it’s good intentions that matter, not good results.
That’s why it’s completely logical that those in Seattle’s leadership aren’t the bit concerned the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of those who predicted people would lose jobs in light of their $15 an hour minimum wage policy – because as long as they’re the “good guys,” they can ignore reality.
We reported here this week on an explosive University of Washington study which found that by the time the wage hit $13 an hour (the $15 an hour minimum wage is being phased in), low-wage workers were actually starting to lose money: the UW study found that the average low-wage employee enjoyed $54 per month in higher earnings due to the $3.53 per hour increase associated with the second phase of Seattle’s minimum wage ordinance. But Seattle’s low-wage workers lost $179 a month on average due to job losses and reductions in hours worked. That amounts to $1,500 a year.
And what was the response of the Seattle socialists in response to this? Acknowledge the study contradicted their goals – and then pay a left-wing economist to produce and rush-publish a faux study extolling the benefits of Seattle’s minimum wage because the University of Washington study was publicized.
According to Forbes Magazine, What did Seattle Mayor Ed Murray know, and when did he know it?
That’s the question that commentators of all politica persuasions are asking, after Seattle Weekly confirmed a suspicion raised by this column: That the Mayor’s office deliberately sought to undermine a new University of Washington (UW) report on the city’s minimum wage experiment by seeking out a different report that was guaranteed to reach a positive conclusion.
Here’s the order of events, as established by Seattle Weekly: “To review, the timeline seems to have gone like this: The UW shares with City Hall an early draft of its study showing the minimum wage law is hurting the workers it was meant to help; the mayor’s office shares the study with researchers known to be sympathetic toward minimum wage laws, asking for feedback; those researchers release a report that’s high on Seattle’s minimum wage law just a week before the negative report comes out.”
In a report that aired last night, Fox News added some additional detail to the debate. “According to emails obtained by Fox News, Reich was given a deadline by Murray. His work was to be completed just before the University of Washington team announced its results. Vigdor, the director of the study, shared with city council staffers the preliminary results of the research and provided a timeline for when it would be made public.”
That last detail is important: Vigdor’s team has been working on its minimum wage inquiry since December 2014, with a timeline driven by its research process and data availability. It’s not a favorable contrast for the Berkeley team, whose timeline appears to be driven by a desired political outcome.
Unfortunately for the workers in Seattle, manipulated results don’t change reality for them. For liberals like those running Seattle, it appears the problem with conservative policies is that they actually work in practice rather than only in theory.