KshamaSawantIn matters of guns and political debate, it’s sound advice to positively identify your target before opening fire.

That wisdom proves doubly true when one is pulling the rhetorical trigger to gun down a bearer of bad news, as Socialist Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant demonstrated at a public forum on the city’s $15 minimum wage proposal held Tuesday.

Sawant knows all too well that the Achilles’ heel of her faux populist campaign to boost the minimum wage is its punishing consequences on low-skilled workers.

So, when faced with a 2008 study of minimum wage hikes in American Samoa that found evidence of those negative impacts, Sawant shot from the hip, pulling the trigger with the speed of Wyatt Earp but the factual accuracy of, well, a typical Seattle liberal.

Sawant elected to dismiss and demonize the study as the work of the “right-wing think tank” the Freedom Foundation, when in fact the study was the work of the Obama Administration’s Government Accountability Office.


Freedom Foundation labor policy analyst Maxford Nelsen wrote today about Sawant’s amusing act of friendly fire: [emphasis added]

Newly-elected Socialist Seattle City Council Member Kshama Sawant is better known for her incendiary rhetoric than her policy acumen. Her recent comments at a minimum wage forum at Seattle Central Community College exhibit either a lack of knowledge on the issue or a startling deficiency of candor.

One attendee asked Sawant about the economic consequences of increasing the minimum wage. In his comments, the gentleman noted that the U.S. territory of American Samoa had recently experienced significant economic damage after Congress mandated sharp increases in the territory’s minimum wage.

Sawant responded by claiming that the American Samoa study “has been done by some organization called the Freedom Foundation, which is a right-wing think-tank.” Her comments about the study’s validity were unequivocal. …

There’s only one-problem: the report was actually written by the Obama Administration’s Government Accountability Office (GAO), not the “right-wing” Freedom Foundation. While we have cited the study, we are not its authors.

It’s one thing to be disgruntled about the findings of a study that affirms common sense – a drastic raise in the minimum wage will limit opportunities for low-skilled workers and force companies to make workforce cuts to compensate for the increased labor costs, both of which will result in a net job loss overall. For a true believer in socialism, facing third-party affirmation that wage controls do create negative outcomes in a free market economy must be hard to deal with.

But Sawant’s sloppy and knee-jerk handling of evidence she doesn’t like — a full-on ‘metatarsal-jammed-in-your-windpipe’-grade debating disaster — should discredit Sawant as being nothing more than an ideological hack. Should, but probably won’t, as the Seattle media’s love affair with Sawant, pushing her forward as a lightning rod figure who is probably generating clicks and ratings points at a rate that previous City Council mavericks such as Charlie Chong could only have dreamed of.

Watch the entire video of Sawant in all of her ultra-confident wrongness below and then read Nelsen’s entire post on the Freedom Foundation website. It’s important to fully understand the real reason Sawant would like American Samoa’s real-world experience with minimum wage hikes to be a right-wing myth.