Monday, July 05, 2010


Been a long day, I've been out and about but this story caught my eye about our old friend Minnesota's other crackpot Republican, would-be Governor Tom Emmer.  He's got a great plan to help Minnesotans.
Minnesota state Rep. Tom Emmer, the presumptive Republican nominee for governor, has put forward a new policy for helping the state's businesses: Lowering the minimum wage for waiters and waitresses, and forcing them to rely more heavily on tips.

Minnesota is one of seven states that do not permit employers to pay less than the standard minimum wage to tipped workers. Federal law permits tipped workers' wages to be as low $2.13 per hour, with tips given to workers credited against the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour employers are required to pay. Emmer's proposal would get rid of Minnesota's law against using that credit, and thus bring the minimum wages for restaurant staff and other gratuity-based workers down to $2.13 per hour plus tips, a reduction of nearly two-thirds. Emmer said this proposal would result in a "level playing field so the employers can continue to exist, survive and thrive."
Yep, you heard that right, lower wages for waiters and waitresses because...they earn too much.  Knock $5 an hour off of people's pay because...I'm not sure why, what does this accomplish, again?  Last time I checked waitstaff aren't union employees or state employees, so how does this save Minnesota any money?  How does this help the economy since the whole problem right now is demand?  He wants to fight wage deflation by...cutting wages!

There's no state budget here to cut.  There's no union employees to blame.  This is just declaring that waiters and waitresses make too much money somehow, and they need to take a $10,000 yearly pay cut, I guess.

I guess since waiters and waitresses are all lazy welfare cases or whatever, we need to punish them.  That makes sense, right?

Earlier today when Krugman assumed part of our political class was just junkyard dog mean, this is what he was talking about.  No excuses about deficits here.  No blaming greedy unions.  No "we've got to cut labor or we're shipping jobs to China or Malaysia" card to play.  Just telling a bunch of hard-working blue-collar ass-busting American workers "Sorry, we're cutting you off in the middle of the worst economy in generations.  You have to pay for it.  Nope, it's just plain greed:  Becky at the Red Lobster makes too much money, you see.  She's got to take a pay cut.

That's not going to make demand go up or anything, or bring new customers in, or motivate the employees to work harder. It's almost like the problem with rich Americans is that don't make enough money, and the problem with the poor ones is they collectively make too much.

That must a really depressing worldview.  Hope Tom Emmer there doesn't decide to eat out here in the next couple of weeks.

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