Kevin Drum Again

Kevin Drum loves lying with data.

Here’s what he claims:

Even at the height of the Great Recession, only 1 percent of employed men and 2 percent of employed women worked for the minimum wage. Today the figures are 0.23 percent and 0.37 percent.

Notice that his graph and data actually refers to the federal minimum wage. Twenty-one states have raised their minimum wage out of necessity as the fed one is so low — thus they are automatically excluded from his data while people in those states are doing better but essentially still earning poverty-level wages.

He also excludes salaried workers which by definition do not and cannot earn a minimum wage.

Here’s some data used properly from the 2018 BLS report:

In 2018, 81.9 million workers age 16 and older in the United States were paid at hourly rates, representing 58.5 percent of all wage and salary workers. Among those paid by the hour, 434,000 workers earned exactly the prevailing federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. About 1.3 million had wages below the federal minimum. Together, these 1.7 million workers with wages at or below the federal minimum made up 2.1 percent of all hourly paid workers.

So it appears he also excluded anyone earning below the federal minimum wage. Farm workers, students, waitresses, and some other classes are exempt from the federal minimum.

Drum — like many Boomer centrists — excels at sounding recondite and reasonable while spouting casuistry and prevarication. He’s very good at it as if you just take a surface-level look at his “data,” it seems reasonable. But examine any part of it closer and it’s basically just Republican talking points.