Fox News used an unqualified crank to push discredited right-wing media myths about the economic costs of raising the minimum wage in response to Fight for $15 rallies held across the country on Labor Day.
On the September 5 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy hosted Kevin McNamee, an obscure chiropractor and acupuncturist, to discuss rallies held in Boston, Chicago, Milwaukee, and Oakland where demonstrators called for raising the minimum wage. McNamee claimed raising minimum wages takes profits away from business owners and hurts the economy. He further claimed that Seattle, WA, — a frequent target of anti-minimum wage attacks — had seen companies in the hospitality sector go out of business, which in turn led to job losses, as a result of the city’s minimum wage increase, concluding “it’s not rocket science here.”
McNamee’s only prior experience with economic policy arguments relating to the minimum wage appears to be a letter to the editor that appeared in The New York Times in May 2015, which serial minimum wage misinformer Mark Perry mentioned in an American Enterprise Institute blog post. In the letter, McNamee bizarrely declared his acupuncture business was “not a charity” and that he did not wish reduce his personal profit by paying his employees living wages.
Counter to McNamee and Fox News’ assertions, actual economic research has found raising the hourly minimum wage neither hurts small businesses nor leads to job loss. Looking at minimum wage increases over a 20-year period, researchers at Cornell University found that raising the regular and tipped minimum wage for workers in the restaurant and hospitality industries has "not had large or reliable effects" on the number of people working in those industries. Furthermore, since Seattle started phasing in increases to the city’s minimum wage in April 2015, the metro area has continued to grow and add jobs. From the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis:
Fox has repeatedly pushed myths that raising the minimum wage kills jobs and hurts the economy, and has given business owners a platform to bemoan paying workers a living wage. Despite Fox’s years-long misinformation campaign, a majority of Americans support raising the federal minimum wage and states and municipalities have continued to increase their minimum wages.