“Booze and food industries’ weapon of mass destruction” Attacks Minimum Wage Increase

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    (Note: I’ve added the video, a few links, and some bolding to Jeff Barnett’s original post. – promoted by lowkell)

    In Tuesday night’s State of the Union Address, President Obama called to raise the minimum wage. Less than 10 hours after the President’s speech, a full page attack ad attack in The Wall Street Journal (page A14) appeared on the Nation’s doorsteps and desks.

    “In his State of the Union address President Obama endorsed a nearly 40 percent increase in the minimum wage.”

    The ad was paid for by The Employment Policies Institute (“one of several front groups created by Berman & Co., a Washington, DC public affairs firm owned by Rick Berman, who lobbies for the restaurant, hotel, alcoholic beverage and tobacco industries”).  According to Wikipedia, EPI is led by Richard Berman, who was described by 60 Minutes as “the booze and food industries’ weapon of mass destruction.” Reportedly, Berman previously fronted for the tobacco and booze industries. His past targets include PETA and MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving). He has alsorun numerous media campaigns on the issues of obesity, soda tax, smoking, cruelty to animals, mad cow disease, taxes, the national debt, drinking and driving, as well as the minimum wage.

    The Journal charges somewhere between $150,000 and $250,000 for a black/white full-page ad. To build and contract the ad in a tight time line adds more costs.

    This expensive overnight ad highlights the massive power of right-wing money in today’s politics. EPI’s real message goes far beyond the minimum wage. EPI’s not-so-subtle message is that it has immediate stores of disposable dollars in the millions – and it can as easily target a Congressman or a Senator as target a President. Beware any politician in a swing state who challenges right-wing interests. EPI and its siblings will deliver immediate, professional and overwhelming confusion in state elections.

    After the Citizens United case, we may think we saw the high point of money in the 2012 elections. Not so. A tsunami of special interest, right-wing money is heading our way.