Many years ago, my mother (may she rest in peace) forwarded an article on Facebook that was clearly fake news, and after doing some investigation, and I called her out on it. She wasn't happy about it and thought I was trying to make her look stupid, but I explained that without looking at all the facts before forwarding articles, she was perpetrating lies and spreading misinformation, feeding the beast of misinformation. Eventually she came to know that I wasn't trying to publicly shame or her belittle her and that we were on the same side.
I had to make a point then and I have to now…..
This morning another relative (who I will not mention and who has told me he has my feed blocked so he doesn’t have to see my bleeding heart liberal rants) posted an article on his Facebook wall, claiming California’s new $15 minimum wage is killing off restaurants.
The article, “Restaurant Die-Off Is First Casualty of California’s $15 Minimum Wage,” is posted on the extreme right website, “The Federalist Papers Project, and it writes about the demise of 60 restaurants in the San Francisco Bay area.
The article hints (without saying so) is that giving poor people a livable wage is bad for the economy, but it ignores some other facts, including those referenced in its own source.
First it must be pointed out that the San Francisco Bay area has roughly 18,000 restaurants. The closure of sixty restaurants is not even a blip on the restaurant radar in the area. It constitutes less than one third of one percent of all restaurants in the area. A number that has no impact on the area’s economy, and still leaves diners with plenty of choices, and according to a recent CNN article is the same percentage someone has of being killed during a foreign-born terrorist attack.
More importantly, the article cites as proof, another article from the East Bay Times, certainly not a right-wing newspaper, with the headline, “I do not think he ever it, because if he had he would see that while the increase in minimum wage is given as one reason for the closures, nearly all business owners claimed there are several other factors such as the areas decades long low unemployment (between 3.5% and 4.0%,), the increased cost of commercial real estate, and the overall high cost of living in the area as contributing factors. Many individuals interviewed for the article even admitted that perhaps their business models were outdated, making them less competitive.
In the referenced East Bay Time article, Gwyneth Borden, executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, clearly places the blame on the labor shortage in the area, and one business owner, Randy Nelson, blames an upcoming 50% rent increase as the culprit for business closing.
So why blame the demise of the restaurants on the minimum wage increase?
It’s the same as always. It demonizes and blames the people who benefit from the increased wage-poor people. It points the finger at people of color and other lazy people for not working harder to raise themselves out of poverty so they don’t need the safety net of a minimum wage. In other words, blaming the victim which is a standard practice of the right.
But the Federalist Papers Project’s article is just propaganda, like everything else on their website. They feed their base lies that reinforce their preconceived notions that poor people are sucking off the system and ruining our country.
What bothers me the most is “my relative” believes this crap he reads, and he is a smart, educated person. According to him, he is the smartest in the family (obviously, a little joke,) but it is no joke that there are thousands and thousands of other educated people just like him that will read an article like this and believe it to be the truth, when it fact it is just kindling to fuel the fire of lies and deception, and separate us as Americans.
Poor people are not to blame for the ills of this country. They are not powerful enough to have any impact on anything, especially our economy.
I will end this rant with one question…..Who does have the power and money to truly impact the economy and the court of public opinion?
(I am a horrible editor of what I write, and spell check often doesn’t catch my errors because I type words instead of characters. There may be many typing errors.)
The two articles cited in this post are: