And calling drivers violent road users
When you depend so much on tips, are you even considered paid?
How low an hourly wage do you have to get before you’re considered underpaid? How does $2.13 an hour sound? Pretty wretched, right?
Ending the subminimum wage for tipped workers such as bartenders, waiters, and hairdressers would decrease poverty and inequality, a new analysis by the Center for American Progress shows.
The analysis looked at wages in the eight states that have already eliminated the tipped minimum wage – California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Montana, Minnesota, Alaska and Hawaii – finding that in those states workers and businesses in tipped industries “have done as well as or better than their counterparts in other states.”
As CAP points out, technically federal law requires employers to make up the difference between the tipped minimum wage, which is as low as $2.13 an hour in many states, and the actual minimum wage, which has remained at $7.25 per hour since 2009. But this law, like other laws relating to wage theft, is rarely enforced, leaving tipped employees at risk of being underpaid.
CAP looked at economic indicators in three groups of states: “low” states, which use the federal tipped minimum wage of $2.13 per hour; “mid” states, which have a higher tipped minimum wage that is still less than the prevailing minimum wage, and “one fair wage” states which have eliminated the tipped minimum wage entirely. The poverty rate, CAP said, is lower in “one fair wage” states for both tipped and non-tipped workers.
The organization also found that, contrary to a popular claim by people who support a tipped minimum wage, that implementing a “one fair wage” policy doesn’t cause customers to tip less. Tips across all three groups averaged 16 percent, CAP said. Simply living in a one-fair-wage state amounts to about a 20% increase in median wages, the organization added.
The American federal minimum wage is already low enough, it seems. How people are supposed to survive on a few dollars an hour “plus tips” in 2021 is beyond me.
Finally focusing on keeping non-motorists safe
For the first time in its 54-year history, the National Transportation Safety Board has prioritized ending traffic violence – specifically centered on protecting vulnerable road users.
The NTSB – a group usually associated with investigating plane crashes, boat safety, and pipeline breaches, but that is also responsible for making roadway safety recommendations to top government agencies – released its biennial Most Wanted List yesterday, a list of 10 items that the agency believes are crucial for safety.
But for the first time, the agency singled out the pedestrians and cyclist death crisis with one bullet point: “Protect Vulnerable Road Users through a Safe System Approach.”
You know what would be better, though? If we could stop calling pedestrians, cyclists, etc., “vulnerable” road users and instead called motorists “dangerous road users”. Not to demonize anyone, but you know, when you are at the wheel of a two-ton, high-speed metal box, you are inherently dangerous regardless of how careful a driver you are.
Out of curiosity, how much for that mile?
For the past 65 years, the United States has spent nearly $10 trillion in public funds building out roads and highways, and just a quarter of that for buses, subways and rail.
No wonder that country can’t afford to raise the federal minimum wage to something humans could live on. /sarcasm