Thursday, August 03, 2006

Newspeak is alive and well

The latest Republican attack on the middle class has a wonderful example of language manipulation/spin--at least in published reporting on the bill increasing the Federal minimum wage.

The story is available in many places, the Los Angeles Times story is here.

The bill passed by the House contains a provision which will actually result in a wage decrease for many workers who depend on tips to supplement their pay. According to the Times article, there is one sentence in the bill which would effect this decrease. The article goes on to state: "The provision was crafted by Republicans in response to complaints from restaurateurs, who said it was unfair to require them to pay the full minimum wage to employees who also receive tips."

Therein lies the Orwellian element. The restaurateurs conflate the contract between themselves and the servers with the contract between the customer and the server; however, that should not be done and it should not be allowed by our Legislative branch of government. The tip should be regarded as it should be intended: an expression of the degree of satisfaction for the service provided. The salary of the server is of no concern to the customer, nor should it be.

By Orwellian obfuscation, the House members who voted for this bill have joined the ongoing battle between owners and workers. They have determined the owners can keep more and that workers have to scramble more.

Servers should be able to plan their lives according to the salary paid by the employer. That salary should be enough to provide a life of dignity.

The tip should always be a bit of lagniappe, taxable, to be sure, but lagniappe all the same.

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