If you can’t win the argument, change the subject. It’s a tactic familiar to anyone who’s run for public office. And it’s one I encounter time and again in letters to the editor that criticize the Employment Policies Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit where I serve as executive director (“Wage-hike foe should disclose his sources’ ties,” Aug. 15).

EPI was founded over 20 years ago to study policy issues that affect the entry-level job market. We’ve worked with economists from some of the country’s top universities, and research we’ve supported has been published in top academic journals.

In recent years, EPI has been aggressive in pointing out that both empirical research and real-life stories show that a higher minimum wage, in the $12 to $15 range, has severe negative consequences for the employees it’s meant to help.

Labor unions and allied writers who support these policies don’t have a good rebuttal to our arguments. So, instead, they attack us personally – typically citing an inaccurate profile of EPI written by a union-backed group called the Center for Media and Democracy.

The facts are far less interesting. EPI receives part of its support from the business community, just as many think tanks on the left receive support from labor groups. EPI is also managed by a communications firm, which allows us to keep our overhead to a minimum.

Readers have “full disclosure and transparency” from EPI. It would help the discussion if readers also had the same from proponents of a $12 minimum wage, who argue, without evidence, that the policy will boost paychecks in Maine without costing jobs.

Richard Berman

executive director, Employment Policies Institute

Washington, D.C.