Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Here’s A Tip

Here’s a another great idea for economic recovery from a Republican: cut wages.

Tom Emmer, the GOP-endorsed candidate for governor, told reporters at the Eagle Street Grille in St. Paul on Monday that the minimum wage for service workers who earn tips should be cut. Some waiters and bartenders, he noted, can earn as much as $100,000 a year, which he said is unfair to the employers that hire them.

“With the tips that they get to take home, they are some people earning over $100,000 a year. More than the very people providing the jobs and investing not only their life savings but their families’ future,” Emmer said.

Speaking as someone who worked for several years as a waiter and many years in the hospitality business (not to mention being in a profession — theatre — that provides a good deal of the people who work in food service), I can safely say I have never met anyone who made over $100,000 in a year waiting tables or tending bar. In most states, food service people are exempt from earning the minimum wage, which means they have to hustle tips and depend on the largess of their customers to even get up to minimum wage. Minnesota is one of the few states that requires restaurants and bars pay minimum wage, and Mr. Emmer thinks that’s an unfair burden on business.

Not only did Mr. Emmer just lose the vote of anybody who hangs a tray in Minnesota, it’s a wonder that he made it out of the Eagle Street Grille without getting a pot of hot coffee down his back.