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Subtle advocacy: A Carsey report shows bias

July 08. 2013 6:20PM

When a supposedly non-partisan research institute at a public university engages in partisan political activism, something has gone awry. The Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire recently crossed that line, which its administrators should make sure never happens again.

The Carsey Institute does a lot of valuable research on children, families and development. Its latest report, “Who would be affected by a new minimum wage policy?” sounds straightforward enough. The bulk of it details the demographics of those who earn between the $7.25 federal minimum wage and the $9 rate President Obama has proposed mandating instead.

But after acknowledging in a footnote that some research shows minimum wage laws to reduce employment among low-skilled workers, the report repeatedly portrays the people it covers as ones who would “benefit” from the change. That is questionable at best. Many low-skilled people who might be hired at $7.25 an hour would never be hired at $9 an hour, a glaring problem with the President’s proposal, and one the Carsey report never addresses beyond a footnote.

Promoting the report on Twitter, the institute tied it to the hashtag “#raisethewage,” used by left-wing activists to promote the increase. The institute also retweeted uncritically comments from Democratic politicians, including Elizabeth Warren, advocating the President’s proposal.

And UNH officials continue to wonder why so many taxpayers bristle at giving the university more of their hard-earned money.

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