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Archive for the ‘real wages’ Category

Hatin’ On The Waitstaff, Tom Emmer Edition

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 6, 2010

I see that Tom Emmer, the RPM’s choice for Minnesota’s next governor, has decided to use waitresses for punching bags — politically, at least (h/t to Bluestem Prairie):

Republican gubernatorial candidate Rep. Tom Emmer said the state could gain jobs if employers could a pay a lower hourly wage to employees who earn a lot of money from tips.

He stopped by the Eagle Street Grille in St. Paul Monday morning, saying government needs to listen to businesses about reducing regulatory burdens and adding jobs.

“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.

Ooooh! Lemme cue up my Dr. Evil voice: One Hundred THOUSAND Dollars! Too bad the Eagle’s own Republican-friendly management shot this sucker down:

Emmer said some well-tipped Eagle Street Grille employees are among those making more than $100,000 a year. But one of the grille’s owners said only a “couple” of his 45 or so servers make that much in a good year.

And in the backwash of the Bush years, I reckon there haven’t been many good years lately for that tavern, Hummer-driving owner aside. (Oh, by the way, the tavern wouldn’t exist if not for the millions of taxpayer subsidies that went into the nearby Xcel Center, site of the Minnesota Wild’s home games and other sporting events. But I digress.) Setting aside guesstimates for reality, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (again h/t to BSP) states that the mean annual wages for waiters and waitresses in Minnesota is $22,730. That’s considerably less than Emmer’s pulled-out-his-butt numbers for these folks.

I’m trying to decide if Emmer’s just doing a riff on the old fake-libertarian War on the Waitstaff that’s currently popular among Galt-worshiping Republicans, or if he’s cuddling up to RPM Chair and would-be taco tycoon Tony Sutton by working to lower his operating expenses?

UPDATE: Here’s some more on the ironic douchery of the Republican owners of the Eagle Street Grille, courtesy of MNObserver in the comments to this Cucking Stool post:

Let’s not overlook the setting for Candidate Emmer’s comments – the Eagle Street Grille. Five years ago, the Eagle Street Grille’s owners testified tearfully at the Saint Paul City Council hearing on the proposed smoking ban that fully half of his customers were smokers and that the ban would most certainly kill his business.

His animosity toward Council Member Dave Thune, who had proposed the ban, went so far that the owner added a special menu item:”The Thune: All the leftover scraps from the Grille thrown on a bun $0.00
(We wont actually serve it to you because who wants a mouth full of crap)”

But now, five years after the ban, his servers make $100k a year? How fortunate for all that the Grille is located just across the street from the largest taxpayer-funded entertainment venue in Saint Paul.

And of course, who pushed the hardest for the Xcel Center, the thing that made the Eagle Street Grille possible in the first place? Why, that Dave Thune guy, the one the owners trash on their menu.

If creeps like this will call out Emmer for his flim-flammery, what does that say about Tom Emmer?

UPDATE #2: It gets better — the Strib’s Jon Tevlin, eager to get one of the vaunted $100K server jobs, has a Kodak Moment with Kevin Geisen, one of the co-owners of the Eagle Street Grille:

But my waiter, who turned out to be co-owner Kevin Geisen, wouldn’t even give me an application. He had just fielded a call from an angry woman.

“She called me the effenheimer and said we had disgraced St. Paul by lying about how much our servers make,” said Geisen. “She said she’d never come back again.”

The caller probably did the same spit-take I did when I read Emmer’s quote.

Let’s see, according to state data, the median wage for a waiter or waitress is $9.36 per hour. If they work 40 hours a week, with no vacations, that comes to $19,468 per year, including tips. So, a super server would need to make $80,000 more in tips to make up the difference. That comes to $1,538 for a five-day week, or $307 a day in tips, every day. For a year.

See, Joe Kasel, the other co-owner, was the guy quoted by NPR as saying that “a couple” of his servers made $100,000, but only in a “good year”. Turns out that this is a wee exaggeration — and pissed off the servers:

At first, Kasel said Emmer’s quote was “manipulated” by the media, then changed that to “misquoted.”

“He didn’t say anything wrong,” said Kasel.

(Star Tribune reporter Jackie Crosby stands by the quote, which was recorded.)

“I don’t want people thinking we have people making $100,000 a year here, because we don’t,” said Kasel, who had to call his 29 employees that morning to prevent a mutiny. “No way, shape or form did I [tell Emmer] anyone made $100,000.”



Posted in 2010, eedjits, Minnesota, real wages, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer, rightwing moral cripples | 3 Comments »

Your Work Life Revealed

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 18, 2009

If you’ve ever wondered why it is that your parents could put you through college on one income while nowadays you and your family struggle to make ends meet with two incomes, wonder no more: It’s because the elites have been hosing us for the past 35-plus years.

Pluto has the details, charts and graphs. Send this to every Republican you know.

Posted in (Rich) Taxpayers League, bust-outs, capitalism as cancer, corruption, real wages, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer, rightwing moral cripples, taxes | 3 Comments »

Follow The Money — Down The Rathole

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 30, 2007


Looks like the drop in real wages and growth in inequality currently being suffered by America’s middle class and poor is about to escalate. The bust-out of the American dollar and the American economy, as exemplified by Bush’s undoing Clinton’s good work by giving away the store with his tax cuts to the rich in 2001 and 2003 (which were cheered on by conservative morons such as this one), shows in how they are the real beneficiaries of the “Bush Bubble”.   The real-wage drop has been masked by the rise of the two-income family, but lately it’s got so bad that people are starting to notice that their parents had more with one income than they do with two.

In neighborhoods across St. Paul, we have all sorts of people who were sucked into the “ownership society” with either horrid mortgages or contracts for deed with older, high-maintenance houses. We have blocks where 75-80% of the buildings are in foreclosure or already vacant.

What is not being talked about is that St. Paul’s two most recent previous mayors, Norm Coleman (who was a Democrat but turned Republican to further his political career) and Randy Kelly (a buddy of Coleman’s who was a Democrat in name only) went through eleven years of “no new taxes”, financing the city on just the rise in home values — values which are now starting to collapse.

Look at the stats for this house, which is in a typically middle-class Saint Paul neighborhood. The value has declined on this tax assessment (currently $3,432) for the first time in memory, as have those in and around that part of the city. (Most certainly, so did those in foreclosure or vacant. But I digress.) Let’s look at its historic value (bearing in mind that the last time this property was actually sold, which was in 1993, it went for $83,300):

2007: 246,800
2006: 276,800
2005: 253,000
2004: 228,100
2003: 183,100

Note that the land value — $101,000 — is unchanged from the 2006 valuation. What dropped here is the value of the house itself. (I’m guessing that land values inside St. Paul will probably not drop; if anything, they may rise, especially in places with good bus service, as frantic white-flight suburbanites hammered by the ARMs and $3-a-gallon gas move back to where the jobs are and ditch the three-hour commutes.)

This homeowner and millions of borrowers aren’t the only ones riding the property bubble. Our cities, counties and school districts have been as well.

Gonna be a long walk home.

Posted in big money, economy, gravy train, greed, real wages | 9 Comments »

Saturday Morning News Roundup

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 27, 2007


 Courtesy of AlterNet, some big stories you won’t see on TV or in the papers:

— A particularly vile war profiteer, David H. Brooks, gets taken down

— The organizing of the service industry and how it gave one young woman hope for the future.

— Even as neocon Islamophobes like Daniel Pipes and David Horowitz stir up anti-Muslim bigotry, they and their buddies at FOX News and other conservative propaganda outlets have for years been cuddling up to these truly nasty terrorists, the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK).

— Paul Krugman on the symbiotically sick relationship between the GOP and the media that does their bidding.

Posted in anti-Americanism, anti-truth, beat the press, BushCo malfeasance, Busheviks, real wages, Republicans acting badly, rightwing moral cripples, unions | 3 Comments »

Upcoming FDL Book Salon

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 9, 2007


Dr. Allan Ornstein of St. John’s University has a new book out entitled Class Counts: Education, Inequality and the Shrinking Middle Class. The gang over at Fire Dog Lake, my other online home, are going to discuss this in an upcoming FDL Book Salon.

From the dust jacket:

Class differences and class warfare have existed since the beginning of Western civilization, but the gap in income and wealth between the rich (top 10 percent) and the rest has increased steadily in the past twenty-five years. The United States is heading for a financial oligarchy much worse than the aristocratic old world that our founding fathers feared and tried to avoid. The middle class is struggling and shrinking, the Medicare and Social Security trusts are drying up, and education is no longer the great equalizer. A moral society, one that is fair and just, sets limits on the accumulation of wealth and inherited privilege and also guarantees a safety net for the less fortunate. This book describes the need for redistribution of wealth in order to make U.S. society more democratic, fair, and just, and outlines the ways in which we can begin to make these very necessary changes.

Liking it so far? Follow me past the bump for some more: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in capitalism as cancer, economy, education, Fire Dog Lake, real wages | Comments Off on Upcoming FDL Book Salon

Poll: Americans Waking Up, Realizing That Yellow Liquid The Rich Are Trickling Down Isn’t Rain

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 6, 2007


Uh-oh! Class warfare, just in time for 2008! Eeeeeek!

Income differences in the U.S. are too stark, and the government should provide jobs and training for those having a tough time, according to majorities in a national poll released Thursday.

About seven in 10 said discrepancies between income levels are too large, a sentiment voiced by nearly two-thirds of those from households earning at least $80,000 a year, the survey said. Three-fourths of people earning less than $80,000 agreed.

Wow! Heady stuff. But it gets better:

Eight in 10 said the gap between the rich and the middle class has worsened over the last 25 years, said the survey by the University of Connecticut’s Center for Survey Research and Analysis.

And you know what? They’re right. In fact, the gap’s been worsening for longer than that — since around 1973, in fact. (There was a respite during the Clinton years when real wages in America actually started going up, but that didn’t last long once Bush got into power and started slashing the taxes of the rich.)

For decades, Americans have known that Something Was Wrong. Now, despite the worst efforts of FOX, the Jack-Welch-molded NBC, and the rest of the GOP/Media Complex, they have a good idea who’s responsible.

Posted in 2008, big money, economy, real wages, workers | Comments Off on Poll: Americans Waking Up, Realizing That Yellow Liquid The Rich Are Trickling Down Isn’t Rain

Banana Republicanism, Minnesota Style

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 21, 2007


(A detail from Kirk Anderson’s excellent “Banana Republicans” cartoon.)

One of the advantages of living to adulthood is being able to put things in context. Even if most of one’s news comes from network TV, one can work out the truth in the cracks that often appear in the effort to present a smooth semblance of a consensus reality. And if you possess certain forms of specialized knowledge — or if you just plain read a lot — eventually you make enough connections to figure out what’s bullcrap and what’s not.

For instance: Efforts by the Bush Junta to proclaim a ‘recovery’ or even a ‘boom’ ring hollow when stats from the U.S. Bureau Statistics show that real wages peaked in 1972 and, aside from the large gains during the Clinton years, have trended sharply downward since then. This is happening even as analysts as widely divergent as Dean Baker and Warren Buffett have noted that the responsibility for paying taxes has been taken from the rich and dumped onto the rest of us.

The exempting of the rich from both tax load and from financial risk in general has been accelerated since 1980. Not coincidentally, this is the period when the Republicans have exerted the strongest control over Congress and the White House. As David Cay Johnston noted in 2005, the incomes of the wealthiest 0.1 percent of Americans have more than doubled since 1980, while incomes for those in the bottom 90 percent have dropped dramatically and even those persons above the bottom 90% but below the top 1% have made only modest gains at best compared to the hyper-rich one-tenth of one percent.

It wasn’t always that way. Here’s how Johnston puts it into perspective:

One way to understand the growing gap is to compare earnings increases over time by the vast majority of taxpayers – say, everyone in the lower 90 percent – with those at the top, say, in the uppermost 0.01 percent (now about 14,000 households, each with $5.5 million or more in income last year).

From 1950 to 1970, for example, for every additional dollar earned by the bottom 90 percent, those in the top 0.01 percent earned an additional $162, according to the Times analysis. From 1990 to 2002, for every extra dollar earned by those in the bottom 90 percent, each taxpayer at the top brought in an extra $18,000.

Here in Minnesota, the Democrats in the state legislature tried to make a small, reasonable effort at redressing some of this wild imbalance. Their plan was to take some of the property-tax burden off of the vast majority of Minnesotans and to put it on those fortunate few making more than $226,000 a year for individuals and $400,000 a year for married couples — a plan which is very popular among most Minnesotans.

The problem is that while the Democrats won a lot of seats last November, they don’t have enough to override Smilin’ Tim Pawlenty’s vetoes and stop Minnesota’s slide into third-rate Banana Republicanism, where the rich huddle behind gated communities while the rest of us will wind up begging for their scraps. He and his fellow Republicans value cuddling up to David Strom (whose support Pawlenty, who wants to be John McCain’s running mate, will need in his bid for higher office) more than they value taking the platinum-plated golden thumb of the very rich off of the economic scales so that the rest of us can put our heads above water for at least a few gasps.

Posted in 2008, real wages, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, rightwing moral cripples, taxes, Tim Pawlenty | 6 Comments »

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