The Seattle Times Editorial Board Can Go Phở Itself

Mmm, pho!

Image courtesy of nuttakit at

Okay, so I obviously agree with the Seattle Times editorial board that it’s way too early to judge the impact, positive or negative, of Seattle’s $15 minimum wage ordinance. Hell, I wrote as much yesterday morning. But I absolutely take issue with the editors’ partisan dismissal of minimum wage “cheerleaders” for engaging in so-called “selective analysis”:

Despite cheerleading from labor and advocates, it is too early to weigh the ultimate consequences of a huge increase that won’t fully take effect in Seattle until 2019.

The cheerleaders see the opening of a few pizza parlors or pho shops in Seattle, during a boom economy, as definitive proof that higher wages are no impediment to business. That is selective analysis.

First of all, let’s be clear that the evidence for a booming Seattle restaurant industry goes way beyond “the opening of a few pizza parlors or pho shops.” The number of food service establishments and food service employees are both up substantially since Seattle passed its $15 ordinance in June of last year. That’s correlation, not causation, but still, numbers are numbers.

Second, it was minimum wage opponents, not advocates, who attempted to engage in selective analysis by conflating a single pizza parlor into a definitive case study on the impact of a $15 minimum wage.

Which brings me to my third objection to the editors’ one-sided mischaracterization. In calling out “cheerleading from labor,” I presume they’re referring to labor-funded Working Washington. Minimum wage advocacy is part of Working Washington’s mission, and they’re doing a damn fine job of it. Yet it’s an uphill struggle bordering on Sysyphean in the face of the avalanche of anti-minimum wage right-wing propaganda from the likes of the Washington Policy Center, the American Enterprise Institute, Forbes Magazine, Fox News, and yes, if more subtly, the pho-metric editorial pages of the Seattle Times.

(Really, Seattle Times? Did you actually forget who dragged pho into this debate in the first place?)

No doubt there are some on the left who are guilty of taking data points out of context (for example, me, though always in an intentionally mocking tone). But that’s nothing compared to the multi-billion-dollar faux-news/faux-think-tank bullshit-industrial complex that is busy raining down anti-minimum wage misinformation from the right.

So if the editors can’t manage a little editorial balance in their criticism, the least they could do is serve up their usual steaming bowl of false equivalency. That would be a tiny improvement.



David "Goldy" Goldstein has written about politics for The Stranger, The Nation and the Huffington Post. He hosted “The David Goldstein Show” on Seattle’s news/talk 710-KIRO from 2006 through 2008, and has been pissing off readers at his blog for more than a decade.