The Economic Roundtable Report’s Flaws and Union Bias

This evening, two progressive academics – Daniel Flaming and Peter Dreier – will present to the Anaheim City Council their study supporting a proposed initiative by the Coalition of Resort Labor Unions (CRLU) to boost the minimum for targeted Resort business from the current $11 to$18 an hour by 2022.

The study was conducted by the Economic Roundtable, a Los Angeles-based non-profit is largely funded by labor unions and specializes in producing reports supporting “living wage” increases.  Let’s put it this way: Economic Roundtable studies always reach the same conclusion: massive minimum wage increases have positive economic benefits.

The study itself was paid for the same union coalition – led by radical UNITE-HERE Local 11 – that is sponsoring the $18 per hour minimum wage initiative.

The unusual, highly political presentation is on the agenda at the request of District 3 Councilman Jose F. Moreno, who owes his narrow 2016 election victory in large part to the efforts of UNITE-HERE Local 11, which flooded District 3 with pro-Moreno precinct walkers. UNITE-HERE Local 11 – via it’s “Citizens for a Better Anaheim” committee – spent $250,000 on political field operations in the 2016 Anaheim council elections, primarily to elect Moreno.

UNITE-HERE is recouping its investment.

Some things to consider and questions to ponder in anticipation of tonight’s presentation:

What Is The “Economic Roundtable”? 
The Economic Roundtable is a union-centered non-profit that focuses on generating research to support union policy initiatives. It’s funding comes primarily from unions and progressive advocacy groups such as the Service Employees International Union State Council; the LA County Labor Federation; and the Los Angeles Alliance for  New Economy (LAANE). The latter receives funding from UNITE-HERE and report co-author Peter Dreier sits on its board of directors.

The Economic Roundtable – as this 2014 article co-authored by Flaming puts it – is engaged “serving LA’s social justice movement.” In other words, it supports greater government control of the economy, wealth re-distribution and other discredited economic nostrums.

Flaming also serves on the advisory board of CapitalandMain.com, whose mission is to “advance progressive ideas and policies in the nation’s most populous state.” The organ’s advisory board and board of directors are populated with leftists and unionists such as Robert Reich; AFCME Political Director (CA) Brian Allison; SEIU California State Council Alma Hernandez;  California Teachers Association Associate Exectuvie Director Rebecca Zoglman; California School Employees Association ED Dave Law; former LAANE Deputy Director Vivian Rothstein; socialist writer Harold Meyerson;

Dreier is a college professor….of politics, not economics. He’s a left-wing activist who on Sunday shared a Facebook post calling for a boycott of “MyPillow,” the allegedly amazing sleep aid ubiquitously hawked in late-night TV ads. The reason: MyPillow founder Mike Lindell is a Trump supporter. Truly, the mark of a serious mind.

Dreier My Pillow boycott

Yet, tomorrow night, he and Flaming will try to convince the Anaheim City Council that by making it more expensive to hire low- and unskilled workers, there will be an increase in low- and unskilled jobs.

It’s important to understand these gentleman will sit before the council as not ad disinterested academics saying “Guess what we discovered in the course of our research.” They are trying to advance a political agenda and their report was written as part of a larger effort to secure a particular political outcome.

Selection Bias And Other Flaws
The Economic Roundtable survey received responded from approximately 5,000 of 30,000 Disneyland Resort employees – skewed from the get-go by limiting itself to only union members and excluding the 13,000 non-union Resort employees. Again, this goes to selection bias and approaching the project with a desired result in mind.

There is no breakdown among those who did respond of which of the Resort unions they are members, complicating the task of understanding what type of work they do for the Resort.

The survey goes even farther than the Resort unions’ initiative by calling for a $20 minimum wage – an even more unrealistic and economically destructive wage than the initiate. The report pegs a “living wage” at $26 per hour – begging the question of why the authors’ limit their proposal to $20 per hour and the union coalition aims for the comparatively miserly $18 by 2022? Why stop short of $26 unless the union coalition and the report authors recognize that arbitrarily boosting the minimum wage has a negative impact on job creation, hours available for work and business formation.

According to the Economic Roundtable study, 19% of Resort union coalition members live in Anaheim. At the same time, that accounts for only 2% of the city’s working-age population. Keep in mind that only a portion of CRLU members are making minimum wage.

Disneyland Resort employees constitute a smaller portion of Anaheim’s working-age population than of the surrounding cities of Garden Grove (5%),  Santa Ana (4%), Fullerton (4%) and Orange (3%). In fact, the lion’s share of Disneyland Resort employees – 33% – living in Los Angeles County.

In other words, if the $18 wage initiative qualifies and is approved, it will only impact a fraction of Anaheim’s workforce. So how exactly does that address Anaheim’s housing affordability issues? Even if one believes the report’s dubious claims about increasing job creation and tax revenues, it stands to reason the primary beneficiaries would be LA County and Anaheim’s neighboring cities.

It’s worth noting the principal author of the report, Daniel Flaming, previously oversaw Los Angeles County’s affordable housing programs. Armed with that experience, shouldn’t he know that housing affordability – or more accurately unaffordability – is driven far more by factors such as government fees and regulations, environmental red tape, and NIMBY opposition than the minimum wage. Why is that absent from the report?

Pro-Union Publicity Stunt
The bottom line: tonight’s hearing is a publicity stunt arranged by Councilman Jose F. Moreno to provide free media  for the CRLU’s signature gathering effort – and it’s being done on the taxpayers’ time and dime.

9 comments

  1. jose moreno should be remove he is the most liberal member we have why dont you leave this city alonewe need to remove him from office

  2. These guys were shill’s. FOR SURE.

    Kris Murray handed them their A$$.

    This is a scam.

    Dr. Moreno, is pandering to his benefactors. Man, it’s hard to listen to him.

    “Once a colonist…..” WAIT Jose was born in MEXICO, Grew up in OXNARD.

  3. You lost me a progressive economist. Are there any progressive/socialist economies doing well any where in the world? Progressives think money comes from a unicorn powered rainbow machine just like they think criminals can be reformed are productive community members.

  4. Kool Aid.

    Pass around the Kool aid. If it wasn’t for 3 of the Council members the true facts would not have been brought to light last night. Thank God Kris Murray is not afraid to attack somebody for presenting an inaccurate or biased report.

    Maybe all you Tait fans don’t like the subsidies, or the pro business, or the pro Disneyland issues but at least you got to hand it to Murray for doing her job last night which is to bring to light bias in that report.

    Transparency?? Come on Moreno that was a cover up. Transparency is where you bring to light all the problems with a report like this has. That means you present the good and the bad. Then after the good and the bad is presented to the people then you go ahead and argue your point. That is how you get respect. You don’t get it spending 15 minutes after Murray’s questions where you give a speech helping to protect the bias in the report. I was probably one of the last republicans who believed maybe just maybe you got something going on with that transparency thing you keep talking about but after seeing what that was last night which was nothing short of a cover up I’m done.

    And thank you Mr. Tait. Thank you for nothing. What the hell happened to you? Did you get that beat up all those years when you did not have the majority that now you just go to the other side just for pay back? Now you just run interference for Moreno so he can give a 15 minute speech to repair or should I say cover up everything Kris Murray brought to light. Were there any questions in there Moreno in the last 15 minutes? . Full disclosure? Full transparency? How about a conspiracy to cover up that report. I’m going to be sick.

    Come on James? How about it? You know what right and wrong. While you did not participate in that sham last night don’t you think it’s time to call it for what it is? You saw it but I guess you can’t do anything about it. Maybe you get another free pass. But someday you need to stop playing it safe.

    I’m done. I’m so disgusted I’m moving to Irvine. I wish I could go tonight.

    his is like watching a fake wrestling match. It’s all a set up. It’s like the first time I found out those wrestling matches were staged. I hung out as long as I could. I believed as long as I could and then I saw it last night. The true colors, the BS , the cover up farce all to advance each of your own positions. You deserve each other.

    Its like that movie. If any of you up there have anything left. If you have any dignity left so you still know right from wrong. Before you get so pulled in a that a cover up is called transparency and before it’s too late and you can’t find your way “Get Out!”

  5. I attended this meeting, for the moment I will leave alone Vern Nelson’s embarrassing, juvenile display and Jose Moreno’s giddy response……

    This report is like planning for your retirement by buying California Lottery Tickets instead of investing in a 401k or IRA. In other words, for the MATHMATICALLY CHALLENGED.

    I will debate Jose, Vern, Greg or whomever, especially the phony authors in public anytime.

    This is NOT a scientific study at all.

    I can’t wait till the engineers at BLUE SKY LABS get this.

  6. Jose told members of the Chicano Latino Club Of OC, That “Brown” men should be given a wide berth, because of their natural “Machismo”!

    Incredible, but given His, Izzy, Julio and Victors past It rings true.

    • Definition of Machismo 1: a strong sense of masculine pride : an exaggerated masculinity 2: an exaggerated or exhilarating sense of power or strength. Listed synonyms include: male chauvinism and sexism. Sounds like Jose, alright. He (and all those around him) must be very proud.

      “The tragedy of machismo is that man is never quite man enough” – Germaine Greer

  7. Cynthia Ward wrote on the OJB:

    “Other than that I have no opinion. Well actually I do but we will circle back to it, because despite all this I am not signing the petition. That is for another time.”

    REALLY, you have NO OPINION? OH WAIT you do, you just won’t tell us.

    YOU ARE A CANDIDATE FOR MAYOR and you play these childish games…….Do you sing along with DRUNKEN VERN NELSON TOO???

    Come on Cynthia, come to the big kids table or GO HOME!

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