Bill's experience as one trying to survive on low wages plus tips, is what is so very wrong with the hospitality corporations. The U.S.A.'s capitalism experiment has deteriorated into a kind of "new" plantation economy of "use labor up; hire another to use up and discard." We personally know Bill and his family and respect his intelligence and his views. We wish you future success, Bill McCamley. Vi and Ron, Las Cruces

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Texas labor laws are absurd. I can't believe the pay and nickel and diming were that extreme! Based on your description, I think I worked at the fast food place in that same shopping center. While our pay was a little better, the company culture's expectation on perfection to the point of absurdity plus long rush times and some less than polite customers made me look for work elsewhere. Thanks for sharing your unique perspective

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I was a waitress in the mid-to-late 90s, and we made $2.13/hour plus tips. And that $2.13 hourly pay mostly disappeared to taxes. We'd joke about getting single-digit payslips. The fact that people are still getting paid that amount almost 30 years later tells you a lot about how the federal government – who dictates min. wage – and capitalists in general care about people working low-pay jobs.

And those customers? Yeah, they usually care even less. I can't tell you the terrible behavior I saw exhibited by restaurant diners towards their servers. They seemed to think that because they were paying $10 for a burger, you were their slave. I actually left front of house and started working in the kitchen, just to get away from the customers.

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Nice trip, even though it's a dark one, and thanks for being the helping hand many needed during the pandemic, and thanks for riding out the fact that not all New Mexicans appreciated that helping hand. God has mysterious inner ways of rewarding people - there's no way doing those good works didn't give you more inner strength and a great sense of pride and warmth regardless of the immediate outcome. Some humans can be deserving, some can not, all we can do is our part well and hope for the best. I congratulate you on having morals and and being curious and open-minded at the same time.

I wish you a long and successful career in politics.

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I bartended in Austin back in the 70's at music and restaurant venues. It was fun then. So many things have changed, it's just sad. Hope you find other, better jobs in the future.

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This is how its been ever since 2001. Its growing worse every year; in nearly every aspect; and it was predicted in the 1950s by Ludwig von Mises in his papers on structural issues of socialism.

The dynamics guarantee that it will continue to grow worse; this is what happens when too many dilettantes rise to political power without paying the proper respect to science and rational thinking.

Most of the rhetoric being pushed by media is intentionally misleading or deceitful. People know this.

Corruption of language, false narratives, and lack of truth without accountability/corruption have gotten us to this near breaking point.

There are several problems of structure written in those papers. The most prominent unsolved one today (nearly 100 year after publish) is the economic calculation problem which is a problem of hysteresis. You make policy changes based on lagging indicators and you can never guarantee a useful outcome. You have a narrow operating window that chaotically shrinks before a unknowable misstep where you fall off an economic cliff for everyone involved. In monetary theory terms this cliff plays out in terms of hyper-inflation or deflation spirals. Both result in producers ceasing production, and shortages that don't self correct. Its critical when business concentration and new businesses entering each sector hit an inflection point in growth. That point was around 2010.

The second problem is corruption, when you don't have a free market based in an equitable distribution of labor and fair exchange; you get corruption. Rigging prices through collusive options trades, or other forms of malfeasance that result in no real price discovery further aggravate the previous problem. There is also no other incentive to produce other than these two forces to overcome friction.

These issues you are talking about, they were not issues until the underlying structures were eroded and fundamentally changed. What we are seeing now is the result of roughly 50 years of bad policy, focused on pushing a socialist agenda; and the consequences of such.

Its going to get much worse. The time to do something about it was in the 1990s, nothing was done; it was business as usual. Worse, the ever important generational handoff of representation didn't occur. Boomers came to political power in the 90s, the next generation should have come into office in the majority in 2010. To this day, Boomers still hold the majority in office and are literally dying in office of old age related complications.

We are witnessing the exact same if not worse intolerable acts that Thomas Paine refers to in his writings. The generational contract was broken by those who chose to ultimately benefit themselves.

Every person today is told of the promise of social security, the benefits will be there they say; which is why you have to give up roughly 15.3% of your paycheck but there's no amount of funding that can possibly work factoring in population growth so it will go defunct. Worse medical/medicare, same issues. An unborn generation was taught lies, and deceived at their loss. Worse many didn't receive the same benefits as their parents, knowledge was gatekeeped in various ways by a cult of insiders promoting qualification all the while stripping agency. We are now starting to see the inherent risk when people can't afford to have children. Adam Smith mentions it in his Wealth & Poverty of Nations as fundamental to an economy.

I shudder to think what will happen when the economic avalanche eventually breaks loose. Dangerous times ahead. It was all largely predictable too because these issues are fundamental structural issues.

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Jan 25, 2022·edited Jan 25, 2022

This is all very interesting, but I find it curious that the situation the author describes is construed as a problem (and that the implicit solution from commenters--unless I'm reading it wrong--is some kind of state intervention (higher minimum wage). To the author's credit, he puts the onus straight onto employers, not politicians. He is right that the old "invisible hand" certainly is at work (though in nothing like a pure form, which is probably good), and it will be instructive to see how the present jobs situation plays out. People have too many options to work "crappy" jobs for low pay? Great. Then either individual businesses (here, the theater) or industries (here, the movie industry) will adapt and survive (Netflix/Amazon/Disney/Paramount) or go away. No surprise and no big loss if there are many fewer theaters in the world. And is anyone else amazed by the sheer number of restaurants on most blocks in most major cities? Incredible! I always wonder how all these places manage to compete. Low wages, up until now, seems to have been part of the equation. You say people are tired of working for less than minimum wage and relying on unpredictable tipping? Fine, then there will end up being fewer restaurants, and those restaurants will charge more, and fewer people will be able to afford to eat out so often. (I recently learned that it is normal, outside Covid time, for Americans to spend more on dining out than on groceries. I'm staggered by this fact!)

I think it is important to note that American businesses still hire a really extraordinary number of immigrants from India, China, and elsewhere for high-skilled, high-knowledge jobs in STEM fields. Most Americans working low-wage, low-skill jobs are intelligent enough to learn what it would take to make themselves competitive in the marketplace (anyone care to disagree publicly with me on that point?). And as expensive as a degree--especially an advanced degree--can be, there are ways to do it economically with a little effort or creativity, and the right kind of degree--advance or not--will pay off a lot of debt. As judged by the people I know who have had success in some of these advanced fields, it doesn't take exceptional intelligence or deep pockets to get there, but it does take a lot of hard work and commitment. One major difference I've noticed between the average American and the average Chinese or Indian immigrant (not to mention older generations of Americans) is what factors into decisions about career choices. "But I don't *want* to be a doctor or an engineer or a lawyer or a banker." I don't think most of the former group are/were thinking this way. Fine if you do, but don't complain if you can't get paid what you want by doing low-skill labor, and don't tell me the government should come to your rescue by simply demanding that your employer pay you more (again, the author doesn't say as much here!). (Bankers are always the bad guys in this story, but a little less than half of Americans are still employed by small businesses [I do wish it were more] and most of those small business owners aren't what I'd call rich. Many are scraping by themselves or reinvesting most of their profits in the business.)

It's also no secret that skilled laborers like electricians and plumbers are increasingly in demand and can make a killing. But too many young Americans not only don't want to work "crappy" jobs for low pay, they also don't want to work hard for good pay, or they are influenced by social factors--it's not cool to report at your high school reunion that you're a plumber. If there is another explanation for why there is such demand and such high pay for those positions, I'd like to hear it. And most of the time a high school graduate can get *paid* to learn those trades. My uncle the plumber always has a beautiful fishing boat and a nice SUV to pull it--and more time than I have to use it in my white-collar job!--and he renovated his kitchen recently to the tune of about $30K. Damn good life, though his joints are a little achy.

I readily acknowledge that these sorts of choices and adaptations are not practically available to everyone--in particular I think of older workers with families, single parents, etc. Great arguments to be made that in these sorts of cases the government has an important role in cushioning citizens from the pointy edges of the market economy. As for pay gaps between CEOs and employees, I'm also very willing to believe that the economy is rigged to give the wealthy more advantages, thus increasing the wealth gap. That's not a free market, of course, and if it's happening, I'm not sure who but the government could be to blame for that kind of preferential treatment--in which case I'm not sure why we would rely on the government to fix the problem, other than by demanding that they remove the preferences.

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Talking about tips, I would certainly be cringy on tips if the price of a popcorn is $15 if you buy there VS cost of the said popcorn. Solution - keep the price low so that more goes towards the tip from your budget.

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