In a full-page ad in Thursday’s New York Times, the Employment Policies Institute urged readers to “take a closer look” at eight of the 600 economists who have signed a petition endorsing a minimum-wage increase. (Four of the eight have written for Dollars & Sense.) The ad gives supposedly damning quotations for each, including four that characterize the individual as a “Marxist” of one kind or another. In most cases, these are quotations from the authors’ own work, and it is not our aim here to dispute that they identify or at least once identified as “Marxist” or “Marxian” economists.
What does that tell us? Well, Marxism is a worldview that espouses the advancement of the interests of the working class. So showing that these economists are Marxists suggests that they honestly believe a minimum wage increase would be good for workers.
How about the Employment Policies Institute? According to New York Times investigative reporter Eric Lipton, the group is actually “run by a public relations firm that also represents the restaurant industry, as part of a tightly coordinated effort to defeat the minimum wage increase.” Lipton reports that the institute’s research director “declined to list the restaurant chains that were among its contributors.” (Fight Over Minimum Wage Illustrates Web of Industry Ties, New York Times, Feb. 9, 2014.)
That sounds like the so-called Employment Policies Institute represents low-wage employers’ genuine belief that a minimum wage increase would be bad for … wait for it … low-wage employers! So there’s a class analysis explaining who is on which side, and why. Call me a Marxist, I guess.