"Fake Research": Seattle Mayor Knew Critical Min. Wage Study Was Coming, So He Called Berkeley 'Economists'

Earlier this week we wrote about a study published by the University of Washington which was fairly damning for Seattle's $15 minimum wage.  To our total 'shock', the study found that higher minimum wages caused a 9.4% reduction to total hours worked by low-skilled workers, or roughly 14 million hours per year.  Given that a full-time employee works 2,080 hours per year, that's the equal to just over 6,700 full-time equivalents who have lost their jobs, just in the city of Seattle, courtesy of moronic politicians who don't seem to grasp basic mathematical concepts (see the full note here: Seattle Min Wage Hikes Crushing The Poor: 6,700 Jobs Lost, Annual Wages Down $1,500 - UofW Study).

As it turns out, however, the bigger story might be why the Mayor of Seattle decided to waste taxpayer money commissioning a competing study from the University of California, Berkeley...especially in light of the fact that the University of Washington study was already paid for by taxpayers and researchers on the project were granted far greater access to data. 

Hmm, might it have something to do with the fact that Seattle's mayor knew that Berkeley's liberal economists would manipulate data in whatever way necessary to paint a rosy picture for higher minimum wages?  That's a rhetorical question...

As the Seattle Weekly noted, the controversy started when a Forbes blogger discovered a curious sentence in the minimum wage study released by Berkeley a couple of weeks ago, days before the University of Washington study was published.

The sentence got him wondering why the "Office of the Mayor of Seattle" would commission a study when taxpayers of his city were already funding a study on the exact same thing?

Could it be the fact that Berkeley's Michael Reich was well known to be the "go-to academic for proponents of a $15-an-hour minimum wage" who "has done at least six … studies on the minimum wage in California municipalities, all showing that a wage increase would be beneficial."

So the Forbes blogger reached out to the Mayor's office for clarification...

Last week, I reached out to Benton Strong, the mayor’s spokesman, to ask why the city was requesting research already covered by the UW team.


He responded to say that “the upcoming UW study is not part of the work funded by the City. Michael Reich is a well-known economist who had done extensive work on policies like the minimum wage and the City asked him to review early drafts of the UW report, specifically the methodology, and provide analysis. Yesterday, he also provided analysis of the impacts of the minimum wage in Seattle.”


At the time, I wasn’t aware of what upcoming UW study he was talking about, and asked for clarification, to which Strong said: “There’s apparently one coming next week.”


And so there was.


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 other words, the Mayor of Seattle used taxpayer funds to commission a duplicative, "fake study" from a clearly sympathetic, biased economist, at a liberal university, all in an effort to mislead voters about the real effects of his disastrous minimum wage policy.

Of course, we're sure Donna Brazile would classify this as just another attempt to "criminalize behavior that is normal"