The Fight for $15 has made its goal clear: Hike the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, even if it results in massive job loss—which more than 70 percent of U.S.-based economists fear.
But who exactly are the fighters for $15? The Service Employee International Union (SEIU) has thrown its arsenal behind the campaign, spending as much as $50 million from 2012 to 2014 alone. That effort is currently focused on New York, where the Fight for $15’s main lobbying force in the state—the Mario Cuomo Campaign for Economic Justice—has dropped $1.72 million on pricey consulting retainers and paid advertisements.
In an attempt to calm legislators' concerns, the union-backed Fiscal Policy Institute recently released a list of 75 New York economists who support a statewide $15 minimum wage. It's a tactic liberals have used before on a national scale: The union-backed Economic Policy Institute (EPI) floated a list of more than 600 left-wing economists who supported a $10.10 minimum wage in 2014. It was later revealed that some of the signers named the United States “the world’s number one rogue,” lauded Hugo Chavez as a “great leader,” and praised the “particular model of socialism pioneered by the Soviet Union.” Other signers lacked a PhD or any higher education whatsoever.
The New York-specific list has similar credibility problems. Among the signers are current and former staffers for labor unions and union-backed organizations, who would presumably back a higher minimum wage no matter the number. Others lack a PhD in economics. Some signers are affiliated with the so-called Union of Radical Political Economists, and are even described as Marxist economists.
But the coup de grace is Paul Zarembka, a SUNY Buffalo economics professor. He is the editor of The Hidden History of 9/11, a book which (among other things) alleges that the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001 were part of a government scheme to trigger America’s “imperial conquest” of the Middle East. It also suggests the World Trade Center was felled by a controlled demolition and the alleged hijackers weren’t even involved.
Hear some of Zarembka’s conspiracy theories here:
This is one of the “experts” fighting for a $15 minimum wage.
So the choice is clear: You can believe the majority opinion of surveyed labor economists, or the signers on this list. But before you consider someone an “expert,” it’s worth reading their bio.