Your Views: Breu wrong about research in column on Paul Ryan, poverty issue

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Tom Breu of the Rock County Democratic Party embarrassed himself and his organization by resorting to factual misstatements and personal smears in a recent op-ed (“Paul Ryan’s poverty plan comically ignores value of living wage.”)

Breu claimed that the Employment Policies Institute (EPI), where I am research director, supported economic research from San Diego State University professor Joseph Sabia via a “shell company.” This isn’t true. In fact, EPI has provided research grants directly to Sabia and his university to support empirical study on topics of interest related to the entry-level labor market.

Sabia, whom Breu dismissed as an “expert-for-hire,” is in reality a nationally recognized labor economist with research that’s been published in top peer-reviewed journals. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office even cited his work in its February report on a $10.10 minimum wage. When someone with Sabia’s academic pedigree cautions that a higher minimum wage could cause job loss, serious people take him seriously.

Unfortunately, Breu’s writing suggests that he’s not a serious person. Readers in Janesville can decide for themselves whether to take the word of an expert economist or a political partisan.


research director

Employment Policies Institute

Washington, D.C.

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