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A new billboard in San Francisco gives a message to California voters: if you vote to increase the minimum wage, you will be replaced by cheaper technology. When it comes to the corporate crowd of keeping the minimum wage as low as possible, they're not afraid to tell workers that if they are only there because it costs less than automation.

The organization Bad Idea California asserts that an increase of the minimum wage to sane levels would cause large numbers of workers to be replaced by technology. This bad idea has been disproven, over, and over, and over...

The pay as little as I possibly can group loves to play either one of two boogey men in the discussion to raise wages:
1. You will have to pay more for goods and services, which will cost jobs.
2. Business will replace you with cheaper robots or technology that won't complain as much. Costing jobs.

Unfortunately, there are two big holes in their arguments:

Minimum wage increases spurs faster job growth
According to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics earlier this month, the states that saw a minimum wage increase for 2014 had faster job growth than states who didn't raise the wage.
This even runs contrary to a report by the Congressional Budget Office that said a federal minimum of $10.10 would cost 500,000 jobs.

From the Associated Press:

In the 13 states that boosted their minimums at the beginning of the year, the number of jobs grew an average of 0.85 percent from January through June. The average for the other 37 states was 0.61 percent.


Sylvia Allegretto, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, said that research comparing counties in states that raised their minimums with neighboring counties in states that did not has found no negative impact on employment.

Restaurants and other low-wage employers may have other ways of offsetting the cost of higher wages, aside from cutting back on hiring, she said. Higher pay can reduce staff turnover and save on hiring and training costs

Minimum wage increases have not negatively impacted San Francisco
Over the last decade, San Francisco's minimum wage has increased by 20.44% while home values have boomed over 33%. For renters, the San Francisco Rent Board issued the most eviction notices ever (2013-2014) in the same period.

New development seems to be a major contributor to the most eviction notices in over a decade. For 2012-2013, just 43 eviction notices were given due to demolition of property, while for the next year the number almost tripled to 128. Over the same period, the number of notices given due to late or non-payment are at the lowest points they've been in the last 10 years.

At the same time, unemployment in San Francisco returned to their lowest levels since February 2008.

Looks like increasing the minimum wage hasn't specifically contributed to the devastation of jobs or land value and San Francisco, much against what Bad Idea California would have you believe.

You don't have to go very far to figure out where Bad Idea California gets their bad ideas from....

The campaign is a project of the Employment Policies Institute. Not to be confused with the liberal-leaning Employment Policy Institute, this EPI is a front group of the retaraunt lobbyist Rick Berman.

You may remember Berman from a piece in 2009 where Rachel Maddow nicknamed him Dr. Evil because he, among other things, declared that trans fats actually unclog your arteries:

Rick Berman is responsible for such "educational" websites as, a site dedicated to informing readers that high mercury levels in fish are not bad for you, as well as, which claims that tanning beds pose no health hazards. Berman runs his operation through non-profits so he can hide the identities of those paying him to, say, advocate that trans fats can actually unclog your arteries.
It seems that he hasn't gotten much better at coming up with good advertising:

(click for larger) courtesy of

What's more interesting is that the EPI's headquarters shares the same offices as Berman's public relations firm. Because of these close quarters, Berman's PR firm sends "bills" to the EPI for the services that his PR firm performs. Why? Well, the EPI technically doesn't have any employees. Industry giants pay the EPI to lobby for them, Berman's firm does the work for EPI then bills them for the work. The money then flows straight into his pocket.

Voting against California's minimum wage is putting money straight into yet another old white conservative man's pocket.

Originally posted to Live from Cascadia on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 04:25 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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