Baum ignores the fact that higher wages for lower workers means dramatically increased demand for goods and services from them, and it incentivizes work. McDonald’s Corporation itself understands this, though it would never, ever say it in English. This is from its Danish annual report (thanks Google Translate!):

A very large proportion of the 3,904 employees are thus not employed full-time PA, but if you convert employment for them full-time positions, equivalent to 2,040 full-time jobs. This means also that McDonald’s spent 559 million. per annum, salary and pension in 2011.

It is money that, for the vast majority of whom, in addition to going to tax also goes to consumption, thereby helping to stimulate economic activity in Denmark.

Alas, rather than figuring any of this stuff out itself, the LAT just turns its piece into a he said/she said story, dialing up Michael Saltsman of Rick Berman’s restaurant-lobby front, the Employment Policies Institute. Worse, the LAT doesn’t tell readers anything about how their neutral-think-tank-sounding expert is actually an anti-labor industry shill.

This is a critically important issue, and it deserves much better coverage than that.

Further reading:

A Big Mac miss by The Huffington Post. Poor reporting on a “study” by a Kansas undergrad.

Big Mac numbers too good to check—or to correct. Fixes and non-fixes following a Huffington Post story.

Daily Beast doubles down on Big Mac minimum wage nonsense. Extrapolations collide with hard numbers.

John Stossel’s poor logic on minimum wages and jobs. Fox host fails to explain away Australia’s high wages and low unemployment

 

Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at rc2538@columbia.edu.