I get you can’t silence opinion writers for muddled logic. Surely, though, The Forecaster has journalistic obligations to not print untruths. In his self-pitying ode to the $5 sub sandwich, “All that, without the bag of chips” (Aug. 6), John Balentine infuses his typically thin gruel of grievance and non-sequitur with at least one straight-up falsehood which shouldn’t have made it unchallenged off your copy editor’s desk.

Fact: Minimum wage increases do not drive inflation. This has been studied ad nauseam – in part because people ideologically opposed to a minimum wage keep hoping that if they crunch the numbers one more time, they’ll get a different answer. Alas, no: The minimum wage goes up and prices go up nearly not at all. After focusing his hissy fit on the amount of Maine’s minimum wage, Balentine pivots to instruct us that what “really matters in economics” is “buying power.” Oopsy again. Purchasing power of the U.S. minimum wage peaked in 1968. Even Maine’s comparatively generous wage floor doesn’t match the purchasing power of the U.S. minimum of 52 years ago. Let’s set aside for the moment whether it’s reasonable to expect a meal that includes meats, cheeses, vegetables and bread (plus all the labor and natural resources that go into their production and distribution) to cost $5. (Spoiler alert: it’s not.) It is telling that Balentine prefers to identify the source of his own perceived economic harm as the kid at Subway making $12/hour rather than, say, policy and taxation regimes that encourage predatory business practices and obscene concentrations of wealth. Perhaps Balentine is hoping to use his soapbox at The Forecaster to audition for a more lucrative gig someplace like Sinclair or Fox. I hope you won’t allow him to mimic those outlets’ lying and misinforming ways while he’s at it.

Craig Lapine
Pownal