Deceptive Marketing from the EPI

Ampersand, celebrating voters' decisions to raise the minimum wage in several states, points to the Economic Policy Institute's issue guide on the minimum wage.

I haven't read the whole thing, but I have noticed that at least one of their figures is very misleading. Figure 3 (pdf) shows the income of a full-time worker making minimum wage, with and without the EITC, relative to the federal poverty line. It was just above the poverty line in 1997, but has since fallen to just below it due to the effects of inflation.

The unstated assumption is that the worker has two children and is the sole income earner for his household. Both the poverty line and the EITC shown in the chart are based on this assumption. But we see in Table 1 (pdf) that only 25% of workers making less than $7.25 per hour (5% of the total workforce) are parents, and a mere 9% are single parents. Despite the fact that the table is representative of significantly fewer than 9% of minimum wage earners (presumably most of those single parents have only one child), the EPI is trying to pass it off as representative of minimum wage earners in general!

Share this