Whatever the economic merits of the policy might be, what really got Emmer in trouble was this quote, the substance of which he attributed to a restaurateur who was hosting the event in question: "With the tips that they get to take home, there 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's claim that wait staff were making six-figure salaries did not play well in the media.
Emmer tried to backtrack by posting a statement on his website, declaring that his proposal would not actually affect workers' wages at all: "I want the wait staff at a restaurant to be successful and make as much as they can, and a recent study published in Applied Economics Letters shows that tip credits have essentially no negative impact on wages for tipped employees. So contrary to what some people are saying, I have no interest in 'cutting wages.'"
The Star Tribune published an editorial with the fitting title, "Tip to Emmer: Drop gratuity idea." Of his insistence that economic forces would result in workers' pay remaining the same, they said: "The result is a contradictory message with a cynical aftertaste. Emmer appears to be telling business owners that he wants to do them a favor at their workers' expense. Then he tells those same workers: Don't worry. Your employers will discover they can't really lower your pay, no matter what state law says."
Meanwhile, the restaurant owner involved said that he had received hateful phone calls over the matter. He also insisted that he never actually told Emmer that his staff members were making over $100,000, and that Emmer's quote itself was "manipulated." It should be noted that the Star Tribune's reporter stands by the quote, saying that it is in on tape -- and that Minnesota Public Radio separately reported Emmer saying the same thing.
In his press release announcing the listening session with servers, Emmer said: "This week we met with business owners and next week we will listen to the employees, especially servers concerned about the tip credit issue. I'm looking forward to a robust discussion."Sure you are. I wouldn't hold a luncheon at the robust discussion, otherwise you're going to get about half a pound of "free condiments" in your meal courtesy of the servers you think are overpaid.
Emmer made a classic mistake, like all Tea Party assholes who have no real clue how to make America better for anyone but asshole politicians, Republicans like Emmer don't have any actual ideas, only an increasingly large list of people who need to be blamed for destroying America. The problem with this is that you constantly have to make the list larger in order to generate continual outrage. Emmer in this case played the "I choose to redefine group X as the outsider who is ruining the country", in this case "servers".
And so with one fell swoop, the people who bring Emmer his food became The Other, defined out of the class of "Real Americans Like Us" and into "One Of Those People", people that have to be hated and shunned so that you feel okay in demanding they have their wages cut in order to help The Ultimate Group Of Real Americans, small business owners. Now, demonizing American workers is fine in the Teabagger Handbook as long as the workers are A) government employees, B) union employees, or C) jobs that Americans believe are mostly filled by minorities. Any combination of the two is gold, any one you can call all three on is diamond-encrusted platinum. Inner-city school teachers? History's greatest monsters, apparently.
But Emmer's problem is he started picking on a non-unionized private-sector job that's been experienced by quite a number of Americans of all walks of life at some point in their lives. I've done it. My family members have done it. There's nothing wrong with working for tips as a server or delivery driver. But...you don't make $100k a year doing this, even at the nicest of restaurants...even if you are the best waitress at the Hooters in the Mall of America. Emmer, like all Teabaggers, is trying to distract hard working Americans from the fact that in Emmer's view, you should be hating people who live off the gratuity of others and don't really provide much of a service in return.
You know, politicians. Now he's trying to plead stupid.
Only one problem, asshole. There's video.
If you think Republicans like Emmer give a good goddamn about Americans who work for a living, you're out of your mind...and you deserve politicians who will cut your wages as soon as look at you.
You have a nice day next time you eat out there, Tom.