Monday, October 29, 2007

The Idiots at TownHall Present More Idiocy

If you have an agenda to push, would it give you pause if you were to discover that the American public wouldn't like you much if they knew who you were and the selfish reasons you have to push that agenda?

In other words, if you have to lie to get the job done, is the job you are doing a good one?

Why not just be honest?

This morning Townhall dot com sent me their morning hysteria that I enjoyed with my locally roasted fair trade coffee - I was probably skeptical of their claims since I wasn't drinking the truth.

Here's a bit:
Left-wing activists want to “help” low-income Americans by regulating every niche of the labor market. Minimum wage hikes, “living” wage laws, health insurance mandates -- these are just a few of the policies big-government types want to impose on American employers, all while ignoring their counterproductive effects on the people they are meant to help.

Unfortunately, government micro-managing usually exacerbates poverty by destroying job opportunities.

With a Democratic majority in Congress and the increasing likelihood of a Democrat in the White House, there’s never been a more important time for defenders of free markets to stand up for their principles.

Did You Know?

* The average family income for a minimum wage employee nationally is almost $47,000 a year, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Just 14% are the sole breadwinners in households with children.

* In May, Congress pushed through a substantial increase in the federal minimum wage. Decades of economic research definitively show that minimum wage hikes kill jobs and crowd the least skilled out of the labor market. Senator Ted Kennedy has already vowed to push for an even higher rate once Congress is back in session.

* The average annual income of the poorest American families has increased by over a third since 1991 (in inflation-adjusted dollars), according to a recent report from the Congressional Budget Office. Among all families, the poorest had the highest overall growth in earnings from wages over the last decade and a half. So much for the old canard about the poor getting left behind by the American economy.

The Employment Policies Institute is a non-profit research organization dedicated to studying public policy issues surrounding entry-level employment growth

Uh, no. The Employment Policies Institute is not a think tank, it is a subsidiary of Berman & Company, which is a Washington lobbying firm whose major clients food corporations and service industry corporations. Surprise, surprise.

Of course, this is the usual trick of right wing groups. It has been played to the hilt in environmental issues. They need to hide their ideology and then they send out minions to write editorials and punk cable gabfests with their vacuousness.

But their insidious ideas tend to stick with people who don't like to look under the rug to see what is really going on.

Sourcewatch has this to say about the Employment Policies Institute:
EPI has has been widely quoted in news stories regarding minimum wage issues, and although a few of those stories have correctly described it as a "think tank financed by business," most stories fail to provide any identification that would enable readers to identify the vested interests behind its pronouncements. Instead, it is usually described exactly the way it describes itself, as a "non-profit research organization dedicated to studying public policy issues surrounding employment growth" that "focuses on issues that affect entry-level employment." In reality, EPI's mission is to keep the minimum wage low so Berman's clients can continue to pay their workers as little as possible.

The Employment Policies Institute was launched in 1991, around the time of the economic recession that led to the electoral defeat of then-president George Bush. EPI deliberately attempted to create confusion in the eyes of journalists and the general public by adopting a name which closely resembles the Economic Policy Institute, a much older, progressive think tank with ties to organized labor. In addition to imitating the name and acronym of the Economic Policy Institute, Berman's outfit even used the same typeface for its logo. In reality, the two groups have dramatically different public policy agendas. The Economic Policy supports a living wage and mandated health benefits for workers. Berman's organization opposes both and in fact opposes any minimum wage whatsoever.

Past board members of the EPI are a former chairman of Burger King and the founder of Outback Steakhouse. Outback Steakhouse, BTW, has a political action committee and much of that money goes to the Employment Policy Institute. If I ate at crappy restaurants like that I would declare my boycott, alas, I am a locavore. If you were considering it: stop eating at Outback.

Sourcewatch smacks down many of the statistics cited by Townhall and Employment Policies Institute. Sadly, though, a visit to the EPI website showed prominent editorials in newspapers like the New York Times.


Dr. Zaius said...

This is an excellant post. There are so many lies told by so-called "Think Tanks" on telelvision on a daily basis that if the truth ever leaks out it's by accident. People should be made aware of their constant malignment of the truth. Bravo for exposing the "Employment Policies Institute" and their ilk.

dguzman said...

Great post, Jess. I'm so sick of these "think tanks" and "experts" that news reporters cite all the time without ever digging into those sources' agendas and motives.

My favorite thing is when a news reporter interviews another news reporter as a source for a story, without ever bothering to talk with the actual people involved in the story.