CLEAN-UP IN AISLE USA
A recent piece in the Wall Street Journal articulated this issue perfectly. Betsy LeRoy, the owner of a local pizza shop called “Pizza by Elizabeths” in the Wilmington, Delaware area wrote that she is a big Biden fan and a friend and supporter of his. Over the years, he’s been a frequent and supportive customer at her restaurant, coming to her establishment two to three times a week. But there’s no way, she writes, that her restaurant, or any other for that matter, can survive if they move the minimum wage for her servers and bartenders from $2.23 per hour in Delaware to the $15 proposed by Democrats. It’s more than a 400% increase, she writes, “which would be a death knell for our industry.” “Even in good times,” she continues, “our profit margins were low. Today our profits are nonexistent, as is our ability to increase prices... Were the tipped wage to rise more than 400%, our restaurant would have two options: We will either close, or we could adopt a ‘service charge’ that would leave our tipped workers with less take-home pay.” That’s because, LeRoy says tipped workers in her state typically earn $20 to $30 an hour, more than the $15 minimum they’d be left with under the government’s proposal. Now, capitalism is not perfect... But the reality is, capitalism has lifted more people out of poverty than any other system in the world. That’s because capitalism recognizes and respects the power of the individual and his or her ability to do what’s best for them. We do not need a Nanny State telling us how much we are allowed to earn, how much we should pay our workers... We should decide
In fact, many minimum-wage jobs are where young folks get into the workforce for the first time. According to the government’s Bureau of Labor statistics, the majority of minimum- wage workers tend to be young. Though workers under the age of 25 represented only about one-fifth of hourly paid workers in 2017 (the most recent data available), they made up roughly half of those American workers earning minimum wage or less. Requiring a $15 minimum will likely result in fewer young people getting that vital first-time job opportunity, and could cause numerous restaurants and bars, which are already struggling as a result of the pandemic, to shut their doors. Now, $7.25 is not enough to live on... AOC is correct on that. However, many are not really living on that wage. Many people earning $7.25 are young people living at home. Meanwhile, bartenders and wait staff earning $2.13 an hour are not depending on that income for their wage, instead subsisting on tips. Requiring a $15 minimum will likely result in fewer young people getting that vital first-time job opportunity, and could cause numerous restaurants and bars, which are already struggling as a result of the pandemic, to shut their doors.
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