On Thursday, despite the paper’s leftist proclivities, The Washington Post’s fact-checker slammed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) for her claims regarding the minimum wage, bestowing "Three Pinocchios" on her comments and calling her “fast and loose with the facts.”
Speaking with Ta-Nehisi Coates, Ocasio-Cortez had stated, "I think it’s wrong that a vast majority of the country doesn’t make a living wage, I think it’s wrong that you can work 100 hours and not feed your kids. I think it’s wrong that corporations like Walmart and Amazon can get paid by the government, essentially experience a wealth transfer from the public, for paying people less than a minimum wage.”
Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler started by noting that a spokesman for Ocasio-Cortez had conversed with Kessler, and it was a “tense conversation.” He then pointed out that following the conversation, Ocasio-Cortez “appears to have tried to preempt this fact-check” with comments on Twitter, including, “Me: ‘I don’t think billionaires should concentrate wealth while employing people who are sleeping in cars working a zillion hours to survive.’ Next day: ‘That will be TEN PINOCCHIOS to Ocasio, “zillion” is not a number and I found someone who sleeps in a tent, not a car.’”
Kessler proceeded to demolish some of Ocasio-Cortez’s claims. Vis-à-vis her comment, “I think it’s wrong that a vast majority of the country doesn’t make a living wage,” Kessler noted, “The living wage is not really a measure of income but of living costs, before taxes, such as food, child care, housing, transportation and other basic necessities; it does not include meals in restaurants, entertainment or vacations. It is often misreported as an income figure, but it cannot be easily compared to income such as a minimum wage — even though it is.”
Kessler noted that Ocasio-Cortez’s office sent an article arguing roughly 51 million households, amounting to 43% of the total, “don’t earn enough to afford a monthly budget that includes housing, food, child care, health care, transportation, and a cell phone.” He wrote succinctly, “That’s certainly a lot, but not a majority."
Using figures complied by Ryan Nunn, an economics fellow at the Left-leaning Brookings Institution, that estimated hourly wage distribution of full-time workers, Kessler pointed out, “In other words, about 32 to 38 percent of workers earn less than $16.07. That’s below the 43 percent estimate in the United Way report.”
Regarding Ocasio-Cortez’s statement, “I think it’s wrong that corporations like Walmart and Amazon can get paid by the government, essentially experience a wealth transfer from the public, for paying people less than a minimum wage," Kessler simply stated, “Both Walmart and Amazon do pay more than the minimum wage."
Kessler concluded, "The Post awards Three Pinocchios for claims that contain 'significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions.'"