August 8 2014
The Oasis Cafe: An Oasis of Truth
The minimum wage in Minnesota was recently hiked to $8 an hour by a vote of the state’s Democratic legislature. This is more than seventy-five cents above the federal minimum wage (though President Obama would like to raise that). In response, here is what the Stillwater café did:
A small cafe in Stillwater has thrown itself into the big battle over Minnesota’s minimum wage increases, inundating the cafe with dozens of phone calls and online comments this week after it tacked on a 35-cent fee to meal tabs.
Oasis Cafe owner Craig Beemer said the fee is needed to offset the 75-cent wage hike that took effect Aug. 1, the first time Minnesota’s minimum wage has increased in a decade. Even with only half a dozen servers, Beemer says it will cost him $10,000 more a year to pay servers $8 an hour instead of the federal rate of $7.25 an hour.
While the restaurant has received support for this move, it has also been the target of anger, according to the Washington Post:
“I’d gladly absorb a price increase to make sure my waitress/waiter was making a more livable wage, but I won’t patronize a restaurant with your attitude,” wrote Chuck Smith-Dewey.
Attitude? It is now nasty to reveal to customers the reason behind a price hike?
There are many policies—including raising the minimum wage—the advocacy of which makes a certain kind of person feel morally superior. Smug you might even say. I imagine the huffy Mr. Chuck-Dewey Smith to be such a person.
But they do not want to know the real world consequences of what they advocate. Moreover, they do not want you to know the real world consequences of what they advocate.
I did a piece last week on our expanding grocery bills. Some of the increase is the result of drought, but some of it is the result of government policies. But the government doesn't want us to know this. It even leaves skyrocketing food costs out when it calculates inflation.
Advocates of more and more regulations and hikes in the minimum wage should at the very least have the guts to admit what their policies will do to other people.
The minimum wage is a subject about which advocates are particularly prone to wax sanctimonious. As my colleague Carrie Lukas has pointed out, however, raising the minimum wage is not only not an antidote for poverty it might actually have the unitended consequence of putting people who now have entry-level jobs in the unemployment line. Here is a simple fact: raising the minimum wage will reduce the number of minimum wage jobs.
Bravo, Craig Beemer.
If I am ever in Stillwater, I’ll definitely stop by the Oasis. It is an Oasis of truth.