, , , ,

It’s a compromise. I’m sure that House Republicans would say so about the bill (HB 258) capping wages for tipped workers that got preliminary approval in the House last week. The original bill proposed to lower the minimum wage for tipped workers from $3.52 an hour to $2.13. Now they’re saying instead that tipped workers will get no raises for inflation like other workers affected by the minimum wage law passed by Missouri voters two years ago. Wages for servers and bellhops will be capped at $3.62.

Dana Dreher, whom I interviewed last month is less philosophical about it:

“A pay cut is still a pay cut regardless if they do it now or if they wait,” said Dreher, a Washington University graduate student. “How stupid do they think we are?”

Those who supported the bill feel that restaurants in these tough times need help lest they go under. Better to have no pay raise than to have no job at all when the cafe you worked at folds, right?

Not right. I’m not unsympathetic to restaurants, but the logical extension of that argument would be that the state totally undo the electorate’s mandate from two years ago. I mean, why pick on waiters? Why not cap the pay of all low end wage earners? Many of them also work for businesses that may go under if their employees get raises for inflation.

No, as it turns out, the voters’ notion of the right thing to do–have mercy on working people struggling to get by–is also the most practical, because the less these workers earn, the less they spend and the more Missouri’s economy is damaged.

I say, let Allen Icet turn loose of those stimulus funds so we can get more dollars circulating in this state. That would make far more sense than telling waitresses to wear out the shoe leather and not worry about whether or not they can make the rent. Give these churchmice some cheese, please.