Conservative Seattle talk show host Dori Monson had the (conservative) Washington Policy Center’s (WPC) Erin Shannon on his show to discuss the city’s minimum wage initiative. Hilarity ensued.
There can be no doubt that Monson hosted Shannon because of this piece that she’d authored several days ago at WPC’s website.
Shannon, sadly, had done nothing more than riff off more useless data misrepresentation from AEI’s Mark Perry. Alas, this is how the right wing echo chamber works – torture some data until they say what you want, run with that, have others pick up on it. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
Shannon makes the following false claim:
Since implementing the $15 minimum wage law this year, the city of Seattle has lost 700 restaurant jobs (as of September).
It seems that, like Professor Perry, geography is not Ms. Shannon’s strong suit, either.
Perry continues to reference the “Seattle area” or the “Seattle MSA.” So, by way of recap: The Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is comprised of three counties – King, Snohomish, and Pierce. It is, in a word, huge.
The Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue MSA covers 5,872 square miles. The city of Seattle covers 84. The MSA is 70 times the size of the city. The Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue MSA has a population of about 3,700,000. The city of Seattle has a population of about 660,000. The MSA’s population is some 5 times that of the city. Think for a moment about the size of the MSA versus the size of the city – both geographically and in population. Finally, keep foremost in your mind that the minimum wage ordinance was passed only in the city proper. And yet, despite this, Perry and his lackeys continue to abuse and misrepresent the data, drawing inferences where there are none to be drawn. It’s about as intellectually dishonest an exercise as I’ve seen in many years, and I’d beg them to stop if I thought it’d make a shred of difference.
Because the visual is so striking, here (again) is the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue MSA and, within it, the city of Seattle. Dori, please spend a few minutes discussing how your guests divine information about the city of Seattle from the geographic area below, some 70 times its size. Thanks.
If you can look at that graphic and tell me that something happening in, say, Darrington or Oso should be considered when assessing Seattle’s minimum wage, well, we’ve got a disagreement on our hands.
In the meantime, in the real world, reporting on what’s actually going on in the city produces cover stories like this one, in the Puget Sound Business Journal:
I have no expectation that Perry will stop dishonestly conflating the city with its MSA. But the record should be set straight. Each and every time this nonsense rears its ugly head.
See you again soon on this!