Opinion by Richard Bleil
Recently I was thinking about how we are losing control of our money. I don’t know why, but I started this line of thought by considering tips.
When you give a tip, to whom do you give it? Are you sure? Because, in reality, I believe you are giving it to the business owner.
It started with pure intentions. We would give the tip to a server (typically) that we thought gave us good service. But, then came the business owners and government.
It began with legislation that allowed business owners to pay servers less than minimum wage. The argument was that these servers make more because of the tips, so if the customer is paying them, then why does the owner have to pay so much? Suddenly, it’s expected that we leave tips because it’s part of the wage, rather than a bonus for good service. What part of the tip goes towards the server’s pay is then going into the pocket of the business owner.
Then tips became broader. Somebody thought, why is it fair for servers to make tips, but not bussers and cooks? Suddenly, businesses started taking tips, and instead of having it go towards the better servers (and to make up for their reduced pay), it will go into a pot to be distributed among all of the servers, bussers, and chefs. On first sight, this seems fair. After all, it’s not like the cooks get the opportunity to interact with the general public. But, the reality is that the owners should take this into account, and pay a fair wage for the rest of the restaurant workers to attract the quality if people that should be in those positions. So now, not only is a portion of the tips not going to fair pay for the servers going into the pockets of the servers, so is the portion of the tips that should be going towards paying a fair wage for quality employees that are not normally tipped. And this portion of the tips goes into the pocket of the business owner.
Recently, new legislation makes it legal to not only underpay employees, but also for the owner to take part of the tips for their very own. Yup, right off of the top. And that money goes into the pocket of the business owner.
The good news, though, is that now this business owner gets to decide that the business is supporting certain politicians to support their campaigns, so you also get to pay for that, so the business owners now also own politicians to vote for more legislation to support, well, not the people, but to put money into the pocket of the business owner.
I am not upset about the fate of tips per se, but modern politics have become about how to take money away from us, and put it into the hands of the super wealthy. Sometimes this is very obvious. The current administration passed “tax cuts” that they claimed were for everybody, but it became so obvious that these cuts would benefit the super wealthy far more than the common person there were a multitude of warnings about it, and after the first year, the numbers proved this to be the case. What’s worse is that these cuts for everybody, except for the most wealthy, are temporary. Even though most people’s taxes went up already, they will go up even more in 2021, which was not even hidden. The only tax cuts that were permanent in the tax package were those for the super wealthy, the ones who own the President and Congress.
Now, let’s add insult to injury. One of the first acts of the administration was to begin a world tariff war. Again economists and experts sent up the warning that it would not be the nations hit with the tariffs that will pay (remember, while China is getting the attention, there are far more countries that have been hit) but the Americans. Now, two years later, the evidence shows that these warnings were accurate. American farmers are hurting more than ever, crops are being plowed under that were not sold, and more farms are folding than ever before in history. And who is making the money? Well, regardless of who is paying, the tariffs are a form of tax, so the tariffs are going into the hands of the government, and the government has given real and permanent tax cuts to the super wealthy, so this puts tariff money into the pocket of the business owners.
Are you seeing a trend here?
The bottom line is that the government is no longer working for the American people. It is working for the super wealthy that owns the government, and whether we like it or not, our money is being stolen to benefit the business owners.