The anti-minimum wage nonsense patrol is so afraid of the success of Seattle’s $15 minimum wage law that they keep on trying to convince people that the sky is falling. But from pizza places to pho joints to foodie restaurants, reality keeps on turning out a little different than their apocalyptic ravings would suggest. They can’t hold on to a shred of evidence pointing to a disaster in Seattle… but they have inadvertently generated some contrary datapoints. At this point we can't help but cherrypick this data ourselves and ask: do bogus anti-minimum wage anecdotes actually boost restaurant growth?
The latest story began earlier this month, when anti-minimum wage propagandist Mark Perry of the American Enterprise Institute scrounged up a single datapoint which he claimed offered ”some evidence” of job loss in “Seattle area” restaurants, blaming it of course on the minimum wage, which he predictably concluded was “getting off to a pretty bad start.”
Invictus at The Big Picture convincingly debunked this bogus conclusion from a not-too-relevant data series, but that didn’t stop the story from being highlighted by Fox News, the Daily Caller, and even our very own local buffoon Dori Monson.
They didn’t even stop for a reality check when the very next month of data in the same data series showed the greatest job growth on record. That’s because this crew isn’t worried that Seattle’s minimum wage is sinking the economy — they’re terrified that Seattle's economy is thriving.
And so while there’s still zero evidence the $15 law has caused any harm, we can now cherrypick some evidence of our own to show that Mark Perry’s right-wing scare stories about Seattle’s minimum wage may actually spur restaurant growth.
Here's our evidence: three different times, Perry's bogus claims about the minimum wage have been closely followed by substantial growth in the specific anecdotal metric which was raised.
- In the Spring, the claim was that restaurants were closing in Seattle… but then Seattle restaurant business licenses have grown to new highs almost every week since.
- Then the claim was that the closure of a single chain pizza shop showed $15 is hurting jobs … but just months later, a new pizza place opened in the very same location, and there's a shortage of pizza cooks.
- And again, the most recent claim was that regional restaurant job growth was lower because of Seattle $15 …but then regional restaurant job growth hit a record high.
From one perspective, that's not much to go on: admittedly, we only have three pieces of data suggesting an economic stimulus sparked by Mark Perry's nonsense writing. But Perry doesn't have any pieces of data at all, and that doesn't stop him.
So now we all have a new reason to support higher wages. If your city raises the minimum wage, you can certainly expect to be on the receiving end of some nonsense from Mark Perry — and that means that maybe you can expect a Mark Perry bump in your very own economy!