Letters to the Editor

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PAY: Consider source of opposition viewpoint

Letter by Charles J. Crawford, Tacoma on Dec. 23, 2011 at 12:21 pm | 36 Comments »
December 23, 2011 1:15 pm

A Viewpoint (TNT, 12-23) by Michael Saltsman of the Employment Policies Institute criticizes the increase in the minimum wage for restaurant workers. You correctly identify EPI as a business-funded lobbying organization, so readers need to consider the source.

If you go to EPI’s website, you can see that it does research on the effects of the minimum wage and health-care costs on businesses, primarily restaurants. What the website doesn’t tell you, however, is that EPI is one of several front groups created by Berman & Co., a Washington, D.C., public affairs firm owned by Rick Berman, who lobbies for the restaurant, hotel, alcoholic beverage and tobacco industries.

Berman has also created lobbying organizations like EPI to oppose the smoking ban in restaurants, promote social drinking (in response to Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and to oppose the Americans with Disabilities Act. These single-issue lobbying groups are created in such a way that their corporate sponsorship and the full range of conservative social issues promoted by Berman & Co. can be hidden.

Whether you agree or disagree with Saltsman’s opinion on the effect of raising the minimum wage, you should know that this is just one of a number of issues promoted by Berman & Co. that favors the interests of the tobacco, alcohol and restaurant industries and not the best interests of the consumer.

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