Well I’m sure you all read of the well below expected job creation numbers for last month. At the same time “small business” was wringing their collective hands over the inability to “return to normal” snd fully reopen their businesses. Seems the unemployed refused to come back to work.
Well of cuorse Republicans in 12 states immediately concluded that the unemployed were being sapped of their “can do” attitude after a year of living on the dole. Recall that the Feds increased unemployment insurance by $400 a week in the first pandemic go round then cut it to $300 in the second, which is set to expire in September.
Our friends on the right immediately argued the reason for the low job creation numbers was simply that the dole was to lavish, encouraging the shiftless to stay home because they were making more money on unemployment than they did working full time at their shittly, low wage, no benefits jobs.
So a dozen red state Governors pulled the extra Federal unemployment benefit away from the lazy bastards leaving them only their state benefit. That’s $275 a week in Alabama. Maybe that will pay the rent and the lights. You can go to a food bank to eat.
Now most of the small businesses crying about inability to hire staff are restaurants. They constitute the fastest growing sector of the American economy and are by far the lowest paying in terms of cash salary and benefits. Forget benefits; there are none.
The minimum wage in America is $8.75 an hour. Unless of course you are a “tipped” employee whereupon virtually all states allow the owner to count a certain percentage of your tips toward the minimum wage, effectively confiscating a portion of tips from the employee.
Tipped employees, such as waitresses and bartenders, may sometimes be paid a cash wage that is lower than the prevailing minimum wage through a system known as a tip credit.
In states that allow a tip credit, a certain amount of received tips per hour may be credited against the minimum wage by an employer, although the tipped employee must receive at least the minimum wage (with combined cash wage and tips) each hour.
So for example in Florida the minimum wage is $8.46 per hour. If you are a waitress however it is assumed that you will receive $3.02 in tips. If you do the restaurant needs to pay you only $5.44 an hour in cash salary.
In Alabama the minimum wage is $7.25 an hour with a tip schedule for restaurant workers of $5.12! The owner need pay only $2.12in cash salary.
Oh listen to the restaurants cry that they need help!
So the 12 red state Governors decided to pull the Federal $300 a week extra in order to starve to rebellious restaurant workers into submission. You WILL take that crappy job!
The pandemic has revealed a great many social conditions – always there but now more visible.
First of all, workers may not be returning to work because of child care requirements. Schools haven’t all reopened to in class sessions and there may be no one to care for a child. This is a primary cause keeping women out of the work force.
Secondly the pandemic is not over. Its getting better, but not over. Working maskless right now in a crowded restaurant may not be everyone’s cup of tea.
And then of course, there is the money. Many of the unemployed from crappy jobs now know what it is like to get a living wage. And many refuse to go back to the old pre-pandemic days.
We have all heard Republicans spout economic principles for years. The answer is right in front of them.
Restaurants need to raise wages. The is what economists tell us to do in order to attract employees. “But small business/restaurants will need to shut down!”
Too many restaurants are only alive because they pay employees poverty level wages.
They deserve to go out of business if they can’t pay a living wage. And if they can then pay up, attract quality employees and make a little less profit.
Stop whining to your Governor about the dole. You’ve had your hand out much too long. Minimum wage jobs is not the way to grow the American economy.