Monday, August 05, 2013


National Review staffer Katrina Trinko has been given a USA Today column to show that she understands the plight of fast-food workers:
It's understandable that fast-food employees want to be paid more. Living off minimum wage can be a grim business, particularly if you're self-supporting or supporting a family... 
But mandating a new minimum wage would likely lead to fewer jobs being created in the future, and it would make for a tough job market for teenagers.
Because if there's anything worse than jobs people can't live on, it's not having enough of them. But don't worry, Trinko has found a workaround that doesn't violate the sanctity of the free market:
Instead of changing laws, fast-food workers should look to change corporate cultures. One idea would be to pressure fast-food companies to allow tip jars, so that people who wanted to pass on more to the workers had a way to do so. 
Given what these poor souls get paid, they might be better off just taking their tip jars out to the sidewalk. Maybe some passing Wealth Producer will notice and reward their entrepreneurial spirit! It worked in Trading Places.


  1. TribalistMeathead11:19 AM

    Hey, remember the constant stream of snark and vitriol from the right over the fact that coffeehouses and ice cream parlors would dare put out tip jars?

    Guess Trinko doesn't.

  2. But mandating a new minimum wage would likely lead to fewer jobs being created in the future, and it would make for a tough job market for teenagers.

    So extensive studies indicate that this is false, because of widespread market failures in the labor market which allow employers to act as a monosopy. Even the Economist and the IMF are acknowledging that a mandatory minimum wage hike in the US would not increase unemployment.

    This is fantastic:

    "for every 10% increase in the minimum wage, teen employment at small businesses is estimated to decrease by 4.6% to 9%."

    Translation: if you hike the minimum wage, adults are more likely to take these positions rather than trying to live off social services, making it harder for high school students to find summer jobs.

  3. ... so that people who wanted to pass on more to the workers had a way to do so.

    Wow, retooling the whole "If you want to raise taxes so much, why don't you just send an extra donation to the government instead" horseshit to put the onus on namby-pamby liberals for why service workers are poor. Why don't we simply travel around constantly, increasing the average hourly wage of every fast-food worker in the country a dollar or two via tips? It must be because we leftists lack the courage of our convictions.

    Completely unfamiliar with the "free rider" problem, like most of your dumbshit fellow travelers, Katy? Here's a hint: you're soaking in it, you parasite.

  4. Not worthy of any snark points, but worth reading:

    Hayek's Delusion

    =>Friedrich Hayek was an unusual character. Although well known to be a libertarian political philosopher, he is also commonly associated with being an economist. And it’s certainly true that at one time Hayek’s focus was solely on economics. In the 1920s Hayek was still within the fold of pure economics, publishing papers and works that were taken seriously by the discipline. However, by the 1930s Hayek’s theories had started to come apart at the seams.

    Exchanges between Hayek and John Maynard Keynes and Piero Sraffa show Hayek as confused and even somewhat desperate. It was around this time that Hayek discontinued making any substantial contributions to economics. Not coincidentally this overlapped with the time when most economies, mired as in Great Depression, demonstrated that Hayek’s theories were at best impractical, at worst a complete perversion of facts.<=

  5. Yeah, I teach a class in political philosophy at my university, but it's not a research specialty for me. Anyway, the first time I taught it, I just sort of went through the recommended anthology, and I was actually kind of curious when we got to Hayek. I at least wanted to know what the intellectuals on the right thought.

    The arguments were so bad I was shocked. (This isn't true of everyone on the right either: Nozick or Burke can make compelling arguments for the cause.) But with Hayek, it was almost every paragraph that relied on the sort of fallacies we teach the students to look out for in Freshman critical thinking classes. I say this without exaggeration. I have never encountered anything like it in the work of a major intellectual before or since.

  6. JennOfArk12:09 PM

    Thanks for that; I was just getting ready to tee off on the "jobs for teenagers" thing. I'm so fucking sick of hearing that used as an excuse to pay adult workers slave wages. How about we just stop worrying about whether or not Junior will be able to get work flipping burgers the day he turns 16, and instead worry about whether or not the 25-year-old mother of two is able to earn enough with full-time work to keep a roof over her head? Junior, in most cases, doesn't have anyone to support.
    The other thing that irritates me no end is the bullshit about how raising the wage will increase unemployment. The theory goes that employers having to pay more have a disincentive to hire more workers. Perhaps that would be true in a closed system, but since the economy isn't a closed system, it falls apart under even the most superficial examination, for several reasons.
    Increase in the wage causes employer to lay off employees, raise prices, or a combination of the two, according to the theory. The reality is, the employer will employ as many people as are absolutely necessary to meet demand. If demand remains steady post-wage increase with pre-wage increase, decreasing workers means decreasing sales & profits. If the employer raises prices, some dropoff in demand may occur, resulting in letting some employees go.
    This is where conservative economists stop the argument. But consider that every customer who decides that a Big Mac meal was worth $7 but not the increased price of $8 is going to spend that $7 somewhere, which means job growth at some other business. Then there are the remaining employees, still working at the new higher wage. They also are going to spend that additional income somewhere, which again means job growth at other businesses.
    Granted, people who continue to buy Big Mac meals will now have $1 less to spend elsewhere for every meal they buy, which cancels out some of the overall job growth...but not by anything like the amount conservatives like to pull out of their asses. Because again, that $1 less they have to spend elsewhere is at least in part going in to the pockets of the workers who are going to spend it.
    Thus, the specious theory that paying people more than slave wages will increase unemployment is, like all other conservative economic theories, a fine example of the Underpants Gnomes school of economics. It's so fucking elementary that one has to wonder why all of the highly paid talking heads in our media have either never grasped it or found it worthwhile to explain. Except of course for that old thing about them being paid very well to not understand it.

  7. Jimcima12:10 PM

    fast-food workers should look to change corporate cultures

    Because fast-food workers taking the orders and making the burgers and cleaning the tables and providing virtually all of the labor required to run a restaurant on a wage that they can't live on isn't enough - they have to "manage the corporate culture" as well.

    Oh, and they have to do it without using the law or labor action or any method more confrontational than politely begging "may I have some more, sir?" from employers who don't care that their workers can't feed their children.

    Somehow I don't think a fucking tip jar is going to go far in mitigating a corporate environment that doesn't recognize a workers basic humanity.

  8. I'm still reeling from the fact that USA Today allowed a columnist to write an article proposing that the solution to the serious problem of non-living wages is...begging.

    What does that say about the vaunted efficiency of the free market? What does it say about American Exceptionalism? The greatest country in the world and all you can hope for is charity from someone stressed and in a hurry and already overpaying for a fast-food meal? McDonald's has those clear plastic donation boxes and they'll go a week with nothing more than a couple of bucks in change in them - and that's for desperately ill children! Does she really think that few extra pennies is going to make the difference for fifteen employees on a shift being able to afford rent or feed their kids?

    The author of this piece of shit even tries to inoculate herself from criticism by bringing up the fact that every Walmart store costs taxpayers nearly a million dollars a year by having to provide governmental assistance for Walmart's desperately unpaid employees ("'Bad Walmart!' See? I'm being all impartial 'n stuff!" she says) but then she just ho-hums it away as the cost of future marginal employment gains. Yes indeed, the free market is fair but it's terms are firm: the majority must sacrifice and suffer that the minority may profit wildly, and we must never, EVER threaten the prospects of those low-wage earners who may exist in the future by helping actual wage-earners in the present.

    This "analysis" is almost Swiftian in the audacious and matter-of-fact cruelty of its message. If I didn't know better I'd say we were being trolled. Here's hoping it gets received as the satire that it is.

  9. PulletSurprise12:15 PM

    And just watch... if the tip jars were to be put in fast food joints, some enterprising "human resources" type would figure out a way to reclassify those employees as eligible to be paid subminimum wage, seeing as how their compensation relies on tips.

  10. Al Swearengen12:20 PM

    The Dukes were too nice for the current breed of rightwing asshole.

  11. Al Swearengen12:21 PM

    No, rightwingers would contort themselves into pretzels with justifications for not tipping people a fucking dollar.

  12. "Hey liberals, I found the perfect solution to all the problems you keep whining about! And by perfect, I mean it doesn't require me to lift a finger." -Every libertarian ever

  13. Conservatives and libertarians have, I think, literally convinced themselves that employing wage workers is just a form of noblesse oblige and that they don't actually need workers. Certainly it doesn't seem to occur to them that fewer workers means less productivity. They really seem to believe that productivity just comes flying out the asses of the wealthy elite.

  14. Halloween_Jack12:40 PM

    I couldn't possibly pick out of a lineup the assistant manager of the McDonald's that I worked at for two weeks before she fired me--lo, these thirty-plus years later, still the shittiest job I've ever had--which is probably a good thing, but I can hear her laughter at the idea of putting out a tip jar; if anyone ever put anything in it (probably out of misapprehension that it was going to the Ronald McDonald House), it would have gone straight into her pocket.

  15. Yes, we MUST preserve the right of corporate leaders and investors to make 400 times the wages of the line workers. Everyone knows that you just can't get good managers and return on investment if they're only getting 200 times what the workers make...

  16. JennOfArk12:41 PM

    Yes, as reflected in the oft-expressed attitude that workers should be grateful to employers for giving them jobs. As if it's being done out of magnanimity rather than desire for profit.

  17. BigHank5312:43 PM

    Conservative pundits (the libertarians are just a sub-species) spend so much time kissing the asses of plutocrats that measuring their turds seems like a normal activity to them.

  18. Critical thinking classes? The Texas Department of Education has the remedy for THAT problem...

  19. PulletSurprise12:50 PM

    I always heard that the difference between a canoe and a Canadian is that the canoe tips, but I guess it works just as well for Republicans.

  20. BigHank5312:53 PM

    I enjoyed the game of Wack-A-Mole she was playing with her goalposts: teenagers! future growth! more unemployment! Wal-Mart non sequitur! quelle horror!

    Pro tip for you, Ms. Trinko: the situation as regards fast-food workers and their employers is Not Fair. To fix a situation that is Not Fair, the workers can either strike, as they have been, or the government can intervene on their behalf and force changes. Why th' fuck would McDonald's change their corporate culture for a bunch of greasy minimum wage monkeys, Ms. Trinko? What fulcrum should they place their lever on, other than striking?

  21. redoubt1:06 PM

    Wonder how much Trinko tips her barista.
    No, wait. She grows, dries, roasts and grinds her own coffee beans, along with the cow on standby for cream, and the stand of sugarcane in her backyard. It's the Republitarian way.

  22. Spaghetti Lee1:12 PM

    Yes, fast food workers have so much pull with their billionaire CEOs. That's why they're so well-paid with reasonable schedules and worker protections to begin with, because the bosses care about them so much!

    Maybe some passing Wealth Producer will notice and reward their entrepreneurial spirit! It worked in Trading Places.

    Also in Horatio Alger, the former world champion for Writer of Fiction Interpreted As Reality By Rich Corporatist Fucks, before he was knocked off by Ayn Rand.

  23. Gromet1:31 PM

    fast-food workers should look to change corporate cultures. One idea would be to pressure fast-food companies
    I wonder at what point these genius libertarians stop being all for pressuring employers and start being all against unions.

  24. Jay B.1:43 PM

    But mandating a new minimum wage would likely lead to fewer jobs being created in the future, and it would make for a tough job market for teenagers.

    So what you are saying is these are the best arguments you can make against higher minimum wages? I mean, sure, in real wage terms, the minimum wage was higher from about 1954 to 1980 -- which were largely fat years for the U.S. ( look here, comrades), but now it's totally different because CEOs are sucking up all the actual money which is much more important because...Oh fuck it. Won't someone think of the teens who conservatives also hate?

  25. Howlin Wolfe2:01 PM

    Also, if they are supposed to be such geniuses about business, why would they "create jobs" just because they have money? That would be very bad management of resources. It's also decidedly not how they go about it. But it fits into the myth they have about themselves creating jobs, rather than filling the demand.

  26. whetstone2:12 PM

    Ooh, I know: we can put the McDonald's tip jar right next to the Ronald McDonald House tip jar, because the system is only working if having a minimum wage job is like having a terminal illness.

  27. Geo X2:20 PM

    I occasionally (OCCASIONALLY) feel almost sorry for some (SOME) self-styled "libertarians." I feel like your garden-variety wingnut can be adequately explained by plain ol' tribalism and evil-mindedness. This is clearly also true for many, probably most, "libertarians," but I also feel like there's at least some cohort that doesn't actively WANT to hurt all non-rich people: they just have this complete, blind faith that THE FREE MARKET is the answer to all life's problems for everyone. So when you have a situation where THE FREE MARKET is really, really fucking over a whole lot of people--well, in spite of appearances, they aren't complete monsters, so they instinctively don't WANT this to happen. But any meaningful action against it would require them to criticize their god, so instead they have to make fools of themselves with moronic nonsense like this. Not that their "arguments" are any less contemptible, but I do feel, on occasion, sort of sorry for them. Not as much as for the people their philosophy is hurting and killing, though.

  28. zencomix2:28 PM

    "Another way would be to encourage formation of an organization that certified or recognized publicly fast-food companies paying workers higher wages, so that consumers could choose to patronize the higher-paying companies more."

    Encouraging the formation of an organization! Fuck yeah!

    So look for, The Encouraged Organization label, when your buying your burgers and fries...

  29. I'm so old I remember when the Galtians' big idea was not to leave a tip.

  30. Spaghetti Lee3:05 PM

    "There is power in an Encouraged Organization!"

  31. Spaghetti Lee3:10 PM

    In my experience, and maybe yours is different, it's the churchy types that don't really like hurting the poor, but don't offer any ways to help them because That's The Way Things Are. People who read Ayn Rand, and see themselves as elite geniuses because of that, and think that's the way the country should be run, are evil fucks down to the core. They see poor people as cattle and human life and dignity as liquid assets. I'd keep all the churchmice in this country if it means we could get rid of even half the objectivists.

    Also, it's kind of hard to tell the difference these days, isn't it? It seems like every wingnut has put upon airs about reading Rand and Hayek and talking about the tyranny of the state and the gold standard and all that, even (especially!) ones who didn't give a shit about anything but gays and Muslims 5-10 years ago.

  32. chuckling3:14 PM

    It worked in Trading Places

    Wasn't that "Coming to America"? And then only for the old white guys.

  33. TribalistMeathead3:46 PM

    Well, both, really, since Eddie Murphy was panhandling at the beginning of Trading Places.

  34. I'd keep all the churchmice in this country if it means we could get rid of even half the objectivists.

    The problem is that there's currently a nontrivial overlap between the two. Paul Ryan got criticized by Catholic leaders for being a fanboy of an explicitly selfish, atheistic worldview, but it's not like he faced threats of withheld Holy Communion the way John Kerry did. An awful lot of American fundamentalist Protestants sound like the Cliff Notes version of Atlas Shrugged, too. Now, they usually aren't consciously objectivists, but in some ways I find that worse. They aren't blithely ignoring the Gospels in favor of justifications for selfish assholishness; they apparently actually think that it's what Jesus taught.

  35. BG, ribbons in my hair4:26 PM

    What a nitwit. Here are the facts:

    While flipping burgers used to be a part-time pocket-change job for teens, it's become a major employer of working families in the U.S. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that two thirds of fast food workers are female; their median age is 32 years old.

  36. tigrismus4:42 PM

    Or just drinks filthy warmed water and loudly declares how delicious it is.

  37. mortimer4:42 PM

    God I hate these people.

    - The current minimum wage is not even the minimum wage; it's a sub-minimum wage -- by almost half. Had the minimum kept pace with inflation it would be in the realm of what fast food workers are asking for. Then it would be the minimum wage again.

    - These scumbags see nothing wrong with individuals bankrupting companies that actually produce things and to create vast unemployment just to line their own pockets with hundreds of millions, but raising wages for the people who serve them is unacceptable. Suddenly they're worried about all the poor workers who are guaranteed to be unemployed when the minimum wage is raised. Well, gosh, it's not like it hasn't been raised before -- especially at the state level -- so maybe there's some actual historical data to look at. And lo! There is, and it isn't at all true.

    - All a tip jar would do is give the Dr. Helen types one more opportunity to stiff a peon.

    - I could've stopped at God I hate these people.

  38. MatthewMikell4:44 PM

    The tip jar is horseshit.

    It simply allows
    cheapskates to access the same service as normal people without paying
    for it, and allows posh fops to rent an air of superiority. Plus it
    dumps extra pressure on the people who have tough-enough-as-it-is jobs
    to "compete" for a POTENTIAL bone-toss and leaves them to fight among
    themselves for the bones. It is strictly for the benefit of management.

    Screw the tip jar. Pay them a surviving wage.

  39. j_bird5:37 PM

    I can only hope and assume this organization would be staffed by fast-food fairies, who live on atomized droplets of deep-fry oil and exist only to safeguard the interests of mcdonalds workers ... not some kind of union thugs or, like, actual workers, right?

  40. j_bird5:42 PM

    Aaaugh, the cognitive dissonance is too much! Head melting!

  41. Very much so. Evangelical Christians - who, in the US, primarily vote Republican as you know - are notoriously bad tippers. My dad is the quintessential example: he calculates 10% and then rounds down.

  42. Waffle_Man6:24 PM

    Let me miss the forest for the trees for a minute here:

    I don't know if this is just some west coast big city elitist thing, but I have seen tip jars in fast food chains both in Portland and LA. I don't think they do it at burger joints, but they had one in, for example, the airport Baskin Robins.

    It usually makes me feel like a jerk, because I generally don't carry cash and they usually don't have a way to leave a tip with your credit card.

    Now, back to the big picture: Maybe it's just me, but it seems like if wage hikes destroy job opportunities, than that's going to be true whether those wage hikes are mandated by the government or not. If the fast food workers union goes on strike until the national chains agree to only hire union members under a contract paying them $15 an hour, isn't that going to eliminate teenage fast food jobs just as surely as a minimum wage hike?

  43. Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq6:44 PM

    Let's look at France. It has a minimum wage of 9.43€/h, which is around 12 to 12.5$/h. This has no negative effect whatsoever on the French labour market, which is to be honest not that good at the time being. But again no capable economist is of the opinion that the minimum wage matters in this regard. Now French per capita GDP adjusted for purchasing power parity is around 70% of US per capita GDP.
    To sum myself up there is no reason why the US can't have a minimum wage beginning at 12$/h or even a bit more and that fast food workers shouldn't be paid 15$/h. Even Obama's proposal of 9$/h is rather anemic.

    Finally the average taxpayer wouldn't have to subsidize large corporations or wealthy people through SNAP and other programs. Also demand would be strenghtened.
    This is all pretty obvious but try to tell that to Trinko and her ilk. Absolutely hopeless.

  44. MikeJ7:23 PM

    I'm one of those annoying people who is annoyed when people use the phrase "begging the question" incorrectly, and the minimum wage is what I always use to explain it.

    People who are against raising the minimum wage claim that any increase in wages leads to higher unemployment. When you point out that we can go look at employment statistics and learn that no, unemployment often goes down when the minimum wage is raised, they claim that there would have been *even more* employment had the wage not been raised.

    This is begging the question. Starting with the answer and bending everything to fit your preferred worldview. It's always good to educate people on the proper use of this phrase, and even better to point out right wing nonsense.

  45. Is the concept of people having discretionary income that they can spend on consumer goods in order to stimulate the economy so difficult to grasp?

    Their version of liberty sounds a hell of a lot like feudalism.

  46. TGuerrant7:56 PM

    Nay, nay. Sends personal assistant out for coffee and audits all change returned. Also complains that a pink envelope must have been emptied into her dainty cuplette, not a blue envelope as required.

  47. It's exactly like their extolling of charity, while denigrating government benefits. They want to make sure that rich people can reward only the worthy with their largesse.

    I hate these people too.

  48. Those aren't coffee beans!

  49. Mr. Wonderful8:27 PM

    The inexpressibly vile Neil Cavuto was yammering on last week about his first job (at 16) at a McD's, how he zoomed up the corporate ladder to asst. mgr. at 16 1/2. John Oliver (who is fantastic) and the writers pointed out that the $2.20 minimum wage young Neil was making at the time would equal more than $2 more per hour than the min. wage today. Truly, the eternal suffering of hellfire and damnation in the cauldrons of Lucifer are too good for these people.

  50. Mr. Wonderful8:46 PM

    Fuck me, I just read some of the comments on the USA Today column. The justifications for the niggardly minimum wage run the gamut from "What right does the single woman working at McDonald's have to get pregnant" to "Everyone is paid according to the value of their labor and what it can command in the marketplace."

    Serves me right to stray away from alicublog. Now I have to hit someone.

  51. Never, EVER get out of the boat, particularly for newspaper articles. I was tempted to do the same thing but then I remembered the pain of past miseries. Atrios wrote a couple of articles on economics for USA Today and the petulant, matter-of-fact nature of many of the soulless, Dickensian comments made me want to go all Roadhouse on their asses.

  52. Tehanu9:07 PM

    "- I could've stopped at God I hate these people."
    Well, I at least am glad you didn't. And allow me to encourage you to say it over and over again, as well as echoing it myself: God, I hate these people.

  53. redoubt9:18 PM

    They see poor people as cattle and human life and dignity as liquid assets

    Sounds like something I've been saying for a couple decades now: Like cattle, you are to be herded, then you are to be milked, then when you've outlived your usefulness you are to be slaughtered, and your bones ground up and fed to your children.

    As to the churchmice, they love to hear and quote "the poor you will always have with you" but they don't like to hear or quote that thing about camels, eyes, and needles.

    (Sorry for blathering; this is a pet peeve of mine.)

  54. Hit the bottle, it's easier.

  55. Spaghetti Lee9:54 PM

    Anyone who is smugly proud of becoming an assistant manager of McDonalds at 16 deserves a perma-wedgie. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but at 16 you should be pulling up to McD's stoned at 2 in the morning, not managing one.

  56. tigrismus10:24 PM

    "Everyone is paid according to the value of their labor and what it can command in the marketplace."

    Which is, of course, bullshit: not paying workers for the full value of their labor is where profit comes from.

  57. tigrismus10:27 PM

    They want to make sure that rich people can reward only the worthy with their largesse.

    And of course time and time again studies show the rich give a smaller proportion to charity than anybody. Obviously the more money one gets, the less worthy everyone else gets.

  58. BigHank5310:30 PM

    It's no shame to discover your talents early. When those talents are brown-nosing and fawning over those with more money and power, however, you might want to consider keeping that light under the proverbial bushel., Mr. Cavuto.

  59. calling all toasters11:03 PM

    Well, that's why he got into writing travel guides like "The Road to Serfdom."

  60. Mr. Wonderful11:15 PM

    Or un-made Bob Hope/Bing Crosby/Dorothy Lamour screenplays.

  61. Mr. Wonderful11:18 PM

    Yeah, but profit schmofit. I had to physically restrain myself from asking this idiot, "Do you really think CEO's are paid for the value of their labor? Do you really think boards of directors keep a firm hand on the compensation tiller? Do you really want to defend 30 million dollar retirement plans for CEO's who run the company out of business?" Etc. Thank god I snapped out of it and bailed out.

  62. What do we perceive today as possible? Just follow the media. On the one hand, in technology and sexuality, everything seems to be possible. You can travel to the moon, you can become immortal by biogenetics, you can have sex with animals or whatever, but look at the field of society and economy. There, almost everything is considered impossible. You want to raise taxes by little bit for the rich. They tell you it’s impossible. We lose competitivity. You want more money for health care, they tell you, "Impossible, this means totalitarian state." There’s something wrong in the world, where you are promised to be immortal but cannot spend a little bit more for healthcare. Maybe we need to set our priorities straight here.

    --slavoj zizek, zuccotti park, 2011

  63. DocAmazing12:14 AM

    There's a classic Chick comic--with no dialogue, just pictures, as I recall--wherein a Jesusy lady encounters a very young beggar girl, and gives her not money but a religious tract. The little beggar girl reads it and comes to Jesus, and dies of exposure or starvation, and goes straight to the arms of God, and the lady dies and goes right to God as well.

    Suffer the little children indeed.

  64. DocAmazing12:16 AM

    One idea would be to pressure cookerfast-food companies


  65. "Somebody Loves Me." I'm not PROUD of being a Chick Tract nerd, but there you go.

  66. Ah yes, the ol' "we can't possibly tax the rich any more," "we can't possibly pay the poor any more" gambit. This is a fine edition, though.

  67. DocAmazing1:45 AM

    I always remember (with envy that I didn't write it) a bit of doggerel I saw online back in the '90s:

    "Republicans moan and Republicans bitch,
    'Our rich are too poor, and out poor are too rich!'"

  68. DocAmazing1:49 AM

    Yeeesh. And I thought my memory of it was horrible...

  69. Baron Elmo2:00 AM

    Actually, Katrina DOES tip... just yesterday at the bagelry she graced the jar with two lint-encrusted breath mints, a hairpin and a Chick tract.

  70. DocAmazing2:45 AM

    Everybody's down at McDonald's
    They're down with Ronald McDonald
    And now they're hittin' the bottle
    And everybody coool...

  71. Derelict7:41 AM

    This. It should be engraved on St. Ronnie's tomb.

  72. Substance McGravitas9:17 AM

    Trinko: According to a May study
    by the Democratic staff of the House Committee on Education and the
    Workforce, "a single 300-person Wal-Mart Supercenter store in Wisconsin
    likely costs taxpayers at least $904,542 per year," thanks to Medicaid
    costs. McDonald's may still have a dollar menu, but some of that money
    consumers are saving is simply being shifted to their eventual tax

    And yet this column is about the danger of paying people more.

  73. "Oh, wow, is this kopi luwak?"

    "... Sure, why not?"

  74. montag29:23 AM

    Makes one wonder how those Japanese CEOs making twenty or thirty times their workers ever manage to make do. I mean, $250K is a poverty wage, so half or three-quarters of a million must be *shudder* lower middle class!. How can one possibly keep up appearances on that?

  75. "You can travel to the moon, you can become immortal by biogenetics, you can have sex with animals or whatever, ..."

    And here I thought I was keeping up with current events.

    (But yes, we're ruled by the people who brought us "America is the mightiest nation on earth, favored by the Almighty; also, we're too broke to fix our roads and bridges. Time to eliminate capital gains taxes!")

  76. Suffer the little children indeed.

    I just realized why many fundigelicals are so devoted to the King James Version.

  77. Just imagine how different the parable of Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:19-31) would have been, if only the rich man had given Lazarus a
    fucking tract.

  78. PulletSurprise10:04 AM

    "By no means shall you let them eat cake."

  79. montag210:22 AM

    We have a class of economists that is obsessed with GDP and average income. Were we to, say, first subtract the total income and wealth from their averaging of the top, oh, 5%, and then do some calculations for the baseline cost of housing (and transportation for work) in this country compared to housing in third-world countries, and then factor in the debt service the bottom 95% must pay to live, those economists might have no choice but to acknowledge that much of the population is a lot more impoverished than previously thought.

    We have, comparatively, a lot of rich people, but we ourselves are not rich, by any stretch, and we are skating by on infrastructure that is fifty to eighty years old, built (affordably) at a time when we actually did have something resembling progressive taxation, while at the same time voluntarily saddling ourselves with a military/intelligence/security/surveillance budget that simply beggars belief, and at a time when we have no state enemies except those we choose to declare as enemies (i.e., those countries which have not been successfully coerced into submission to our multinationals and our banks).

    It's quite possibly the most successful con job in human history.

  80. Mr. Wonderful10:41 AM

    Okay, but maybe some of us hate them more than you do.

  81. dstatton11:03 AM

    Ms. Trinko strikes me as the type of libertarian who refuses to tip on principle.

  82. Derelict11:37 AM

    We have a class of economists that is obsessed with GDP and average income.

    It's the only way they can make it all work. Put me in a room with Bill Gates and, if you average the incomes, we're both billionaires. That makes the economist feel better.

  83. The simple fact that many economists are either too stupid to recognize or deliberately ignoring is that productivity comes from workers, which means that as long as you have a workforce sufficient to repair a bridge, as well as feed and clothes the workers who are repairing the bridge, you can afford to repair the damn bridge. It's monumentally stupid to say "well, we don't have enough money to do that" when there are people sitting around able and willing to be productive but not being provided the opportunity to do so. Wealth is created by productivity, so if you have the workforce and material capacity for a given amount of productivity, you can, by definition, afford it.

  84. This method of production has raised ethical concerns about the treatment of civets due to "horrific conditions" including isolation, poor diet, small cages and a high mortality rate

    Man, rich people just can't enjoy anything if a living creature didn't suffer to make it.

  85. Well, women should know better than to have children they can't afford. Not that we want them to have access to family planning services and products. Basically we just want them to be misera- uh, I mean, morally upstanding.

  86. And of course the fact that it's the management who is unilaterally deciding what value to attach to a worker's labor poses no potential conflicts of interest whatsoever.

  87. And Jesus said, "Fucked are the poor, for they sit around on their lazy asses having lots of babies and thinking up welfare scams."

  88. JennOfArk12:13 PM

    Best example: the six heirs (heirs that is, NOT the brilliant "producers" who started the company) own 48% of Wal Mart; collectively their financial worth equals that of the bottom 42% of the citizenry.
    Does this mean that these 6 people are each as productive, by their own Galtian efforts alone, as 22 million other Americans? According to Fox, yes. Yes, it does.

  89. Yeah,you know it's bad when even the lady who wipes your babies' asses is unworthy.

  90. KatWillow12:58 PM

    The "sex with animals" is kinda crammed in the comment- Unlike space travel or immortality, sex with animals wasn't impossible in the past, and isn't really isn't a "new" and popular thing now.

  91. KatWillow1:00 PM

    Every time it is suggested we raise the minimum wage, the rich scream that it'll destroy the economy, and yet it never does. In fact, it always improves things.... for the poor.

  92. AngryWarthogBreath1:05 PM

    The one thing I always think when I see these arguments - which I then, hubristically, wonder why everyone else isn't thinking - is much like the bit Roy says above: "Because if there's anything worse than jobs people can't live on, it's not having enough of them."

    The corporation whines, "But if we raise the minimum wage, we'll have to stop offering the jobs we're offering now!"

    And I always think... well, the jobs you're offering now are not good enough. They're broken. What with the Wal-Mart cycle of being paid only enough to shop at Wal-Mart, they might be doing more harm than good. So if you can't do better, and the only other option is your extinction, well, seems like we've made a pretty simple choice here, right?

  93. productivity comes from workers


  94. KatWillow1:13 PM

    They DO think they earn their billions. And deserve it. That's why they loathe paying taxes. They worked SO HARD for those billions sitting in the Cayman Island!

  95. TomParmenter1:23 PM

    Look, it just means "let".

  96. Gromet1:28 PM

    This point of view is a bit misguided. I worked at a coffee shop in my 20s and the $10-20 I took home each night from the tip jar enabled me to live like a human being. Also, we split the jar evenly -- we did not fight like dogs over a bone toss.

    The only nontippers who annoyed me were the ones who got back <20 cents and pocketed it, because <20 cents can buy you nothing but every customer dropping just a dime buys me a tolerable day off. No one who tipped was ever resented as a "superior fop."

    Currently, I work two jobs, one from an office and one "from home," which means from a coffee shop because nothing gets done at home. And in the coffee shop I might have just one mug of joe but sit for 3 hours. So I tip very well. Not to feel superior, but as table rental, and because I'm a regular, and because I respect how hard those kids work.

    You can argue that the minimum wage should be higher, but you can't tell me "screw the tip jar, it's horseshit."

  97. Kurzleg2:17 PM

    Plus, no context on the tax base of the state, wages on which the which this $900k is based or revenue produced by the store. In other words, totally context-free, and that way not by mistake. Throw up the big scary number and watch people run away screaming.

  98. montag23:02 PM

    Although it does explain why so damned many Republicans don't want to jeopardize corporate farm subsidies....

  99. montag23:07 PM

    As if they ever did, anyway.

  100. montag23:11 PM

    Umm, I think that's how promotion works in News Corp land. Cavuto is where he is today because he waved a sign around at the end of each work day: "I kissed Roger Ailes' ass ____ times today! Nyah, nyah, losers."

  101. XeckyGilchrist3:12 PM

    Indeed, but it may at least lead people to ask how much a Walmart *should* cost taxpayers every year.

  102. FlipYrWhig3:12 PM

    Re: noblesse oblige, I feel like conservative economic ideas almost become coherent if you consider all laboring to be variants of butlering.

  103. will_f3:13 PM

    If by "just as surely as" you mean "not at all" then yes.

    As has been explained previously, wage hike do not destroy job opportunities.

  104. uh, Gromet. I think he meant screw the tip jar as an idea. Not, "Don't tip hardworking people"

  105. Mike McCarthy3:32 PM

    I saw that Daily Show piece. Another thread of RW thought involved here is the idea that someone is a loser if she has to work a crappy job. I can't really figure this one out. We can't all be architects, corporate execs and news commentators though I guess I am less of a person for not holding one of those jobs.

  106. You know that, Parmenter, and I know that, but places like Texas are crammed with people who apparently think it means poor children should wallow in abject misery. Assuming they've ever gotten that far in the book.

  107. not paying workers for the full value of their labor is where profit comes from.


    (Copying and pasting that word has tripled my comment thread productivity. All the fruits of which properly belong to my employer. I can haz right wing journamalist job naow?)

  108. I'm always a step ahead of you

  109. Gromet4:23 PM

    Noted, but he does criticize the existence of tip jars as allowing "posh fops to rent an air of superiority," and characterizes the tipees as people left to "fight among themselves for the bones." In my experience these are wildly inaccurate statements and I couldn't let 'em go.

  110. witlesschum4:28 PM

    Even a weirdo who drops beastiality references into odd places can see this economy is a scam?

  111. witlesschum4:34 PM

    In the spirit of everybody should do things like me, farm labor as a part time job in high school was pretty good, though I picked up late night shifts at a gas station, which allowed me and my friends to buy all the beer we wanted.

  112. zencomix4:38 PM

    D'oh!-- you're not your.

  113. MatthewMikell4:41 PM

    I'm delighted that you have personal anecdotes. Other people who rely on tips also have many, many personal anecdotes about tip-dependency that they post on the Internet, and their anecdotes are considerably less pleasant. Feel free to peruse them; you might discover an entire world exists out there beyond the tip of your own nose.

    The purpose of the tip jar is to give management an excuse to pay you less and shift your livelihood to the customer (if the customer feels like it). Perhaps you fancy yourself unworthy of stable income beyond subsistence.

    When a survivable wage is paid, the tip jar is unnecessary. If the tip jar is necessary, a survivable wage is not being paid. The tip jar remains a horseshit excuse for management to screw its employees for its own gain.

  114. One can never have enough Electric Six.

  115. fraser5:05 PM

    The same logic by which the poor getting poorer isn't a problem because they can eat cat food and buy clothes at Goodwill, so they're not really suffering. But the rich getting taxed is a problem because they've only got a few thousand left after buying their summer home, their penthouse and putting the kids in private school so any added demands will break them.

  116. Gromet5:21 PM

    Your phony-droll & superior tone and your characterization of me as unable to see "past my nose" are not appreciated; at no point did I state that I made a living wage at that coffee shop -- in fact I implied the opposite; and your now twice-stated premise that tipping is a tool of the oppressor makes me feel like I've been cornered at the party and desperately need to signal a friend for rescue.

  117. Waffle_Man5:33 PM

    Yes, I do mean that.

    Even in the abstract, though, there's a weird occasional habit people have of saying "Your solution has this problem. That's why we should go with my solution, which has exactly the same problem as well as several others."

    This is how Republicans always argue for their healthcare plans. It drives me up the wall.

  118. montag25:42 PM

    Do not even get me started on the Scions of Sam. They're running neck-and-neck with the Koch klan for the most destructive family on the planet.

  119. Hey if you wanna help people, don't act like this.

    "Perhaps you fancy yourself unworthy of stable income beyond subsistence."

    Are you coprohageous by nature?

  120. montag25:58 PM

    The $900K figure is probably bullshit because that's just the cost of additional services to the taxpayer--it doesn't include the rebate of sales taxes (and, often, state income taxes paid by employees) to WalMart that WalMart often demands as a quid pro quo for bringing a store to a particular locale.

    Communities actually accede to these demands, so they are paying for their own abuse in more than the ways described. Add in predatory pricing to destroy other local businesses until there's no more competition, and the net cost of inviting in these vultures is far more than just employees requiring state services.

    And 40% of that extortion winds up in the pockets of six people. Pretty much boggles the mind, yes?

  121. Mooser6:22 PM

    Gromet, if you think it's tough here, try Pharyngula. Nothin but white knights, damsels in distress and "name and shame"

  122. Gromet6:38 PM

    Ha! My patience for parties like that ran out long ago. Here, you like Manhattans? I make a very good Manhattan, or let's see who's got cigarettes in the backyard.

  123. MatthewMikell6:47 PM

    Then perhaps you shouldn't have sauntered up to me and tried to "set me straight" with your "well MY tip jar blows me behind the dumpster every Friday so shutuuuuuuup" routine.

  124. MatthewMikell6:49 PM

    Don't recall asking for a referee.

  125. Don't recall givin' a shit.

  126. I hope this was a joke.

  127. MatthewMikell7:09 PM

    From "civil voice in the conversation (while calling people shit-eaters)" to Internet Tough Guy in three short steps.

  128. Gromet7:16 PM

    I am fairly sure it is not three steps from calling someone a shit-eater to saying you don't care about their opinion. And c'mon, even you have to admit "Don't recall givin' a shit" is a pretty funny reply to "Don't recall asking for a referee." Now, I'm prepared to move on. Let's move on.

  129. I've not taken any steps except tellin' you not to be a condescending dick. If you think that's being Internet Tough Guy, wait until I impress you with my martial arts expertise and how the grey aliens implanted me in the Foreign Legion. WATCH OUT, I'm also a trained sniper! Get over yourself, is my main point.

  130. XeckyGilchrist7:48 PM

    Yeah, I head over there sometimes for a bit of godbag angertainment. I'm still a big fan of inserting microchips to increase the pain.

  131. Magatha8:06 PM

    And oh how quickly their elegant work lives would turn miserable if we lesser persons just stopped emptying the office trash, ordering stationery, washing windows, stocking the right size beverage lids at the cafe, arranging for the elevator repair guys to come out, and getting your Amazon order to you the next day. There is value in work like that, and they should know it. It takes very little imagination to picture what would happen if the office bathroom cleaning crews stopped showing up. I can clean a bathroom; I can't be an architect. Still, even though anyone - even me - can clean a bathroom, if no one does it, you will notice and care, because it's all connected. So they should show some respect.

  132. satch8:53 PM

    Google "pressure cooker bomb", and then time it to see how long it takes twelve black SUVs to show up at your door.

  133. billcinsd9:23 PM

    those aren't mutually exclusive alternatives

  134. billcinsd9:38 PM

    while I mostly agree with you, some of the theory of increasing unemployment is that the labor market has decided what the optimal wage for any job is, thus any job that is currently paid between the old and new minimum wage must no longer at the new minimum wage because it is no longer efficient

  135. billcinsd9:44 PM

    don't you also need to have someone duckduckgo Islam or luggage or something like that?

  136. billcinsd9:54 PM

    Sounds like something I've been saying for a couple decades now: Like
    cattle, you are to be herded, then you are to be milked, then when
    you've outlived your usefulness you are to be slaughtered, and your bones ground up and fed to your children.

    Ah, the testament of Creutzfeldt and Jakob, thy prions be transmitted

  137. Bitter Scribe10:25 PM

    See "Nickel & Dimed," by Barbara Ehrenreich. She worked as a waitress and learned never to expect a decent tip from "Visible Christians."

  138. StringOnAStick4:56 PM

    Well, then the problem becomes obvious, doesn't it?

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  140. Sgaile-beairt10:22 PM

    i like the way that nobody ever acknowledges the fact that EVEN MACDONALD'S ADMITS YOU NEED TWO FUCKING JOBS JUST TO NOT QUITE BREAK EVEN on what they pay people!! didnt she see that freakin mickey ds budget thing the other day??

    anyway so, no, it would balance out, even if they stopped offering as many jobs, people wouldn't have to take 2 or 3 of them just to make rent....

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