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“Where should we eat tomorrow?” my wife asked me excitedly as we sat on our deck Friday evening.
She had locked down a babysitter for Saturday night, and we were both eager for our first dinner date alone together in months.
“Broders’,” I answered without hesitation.
Located in southwest Minneapolis, Broders Pasta Bar is a local gem. It has a great outdoor patio and the best Italian cuisine in the Twin Cities. We had not eaten there since the pandemic began.
My wife nodded and started to make a reservation on her phone. Then her jaw dropped.
“You’re not going to like this,” she said.
An Equity Charge?
She was right.
On its website, Broders’ has a notice to customers notifying them of a new 15 percent “benefits and equity” charge they’ve instituted. They justify the charge, first, by explaining that “many states have allowed reduced minimum wages for service staff in the form of a tip credit.” (More on this in a minute.)
The restaurant’s second justification is that many tippers are racist and sexist, according to uncited research.
“Studies have also shown that there is inequity and built-in bias in the way consumers give tips,” the statement reads. “In general, Black or Brown servers receive less tips than Caucasian servers. There is gender bias as well.”
The final part of the statement says the new policy stems from wider racial injustice and is not a substitute for gratuity.
“In the wake of racial injustice protests and the closures due to Covid, now is the time for Broders’ to reimagine its economics and provide fair pay across the company,” the statement reads. “Our Benefits & Equity Charge is applied entirely to employee compensation. This supplement helps us to set a $16 minimum hourly wage for customer facing employees, $18 minimum hourly wage for kitchen employees… Altogether this allows everyone in our company to earn a real living wage. The 15% Benefits & Equity Charge is not a gratuity.”
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Broders’ is of course free to add this additional charge, but there are few things that should be noted.
First, it’s true that many states allow tipped employees to make less than the minimum wage. However, Minnesota is not one of those states. Businesses with gross revenue over $500,000 are legally required to pay employees—including tipped workers—at least $10.08 an hour. (For businesses with gross revenue less than $500,000, the minimum wage is $8.21.)
For Broders’ to include this sentence—”many states have allowed reduced minimum wages”—for a justification of its equity policy while fully knowing this policy is not in use in Minnesota is nothing short of deceptive.
Second, I’m no Robert Irvine, but telling your customers you are going to begin charging them more because they are too bigoted to tip fairly might not be a winning restaurant strategy. Just sayin’. As a former restaurant worker, I pride myself on being a generous and fair tipper, and the implication that I can’t be trusted with this responsibility doesn’t sit well with me.
Finally, if Broders’ doesn’t feel restaurant workers in the back are earning enough money, there is a solution to that: pay them more. This action doesn’t require any surcharges or public lectures on systemic oppression. It only requires the restaurant to run an efficient and profitable business that allows them to pay workers a wage they believe is fair and “livable.”
The Fixed (Pizza) Pie Fallacy
Out of curiosity, I looked around to see if other restaurants are adding similar charges. I quickly found one. Pizzeria Toro, a North Carolina restaurant, recently announced that it is introducing a 20 percent Living Wage Fee.
The pizzeria’s owner, Gray Brooks, said this is the “equitable” thing to do. “In order for the bottom to rise up, the top has to come down a little bit,” said Brooks.
This is, of course, a perfect example of the fixed pie fallacy. For those unfamiliar, the fallacy assumes that the economy is fixed, and for the poor to do better, the better off must simply sacrifice more.
“If we assume that wealth is a fixed pie, then the more slices the rich get, the fewer are left over for the poor,” Chelsea Follett explained. “In other words, people can only better themselves at the expense of others. In the world of the fixed pie, if we observe the rich becoming richer, then it must be because other people are becoming poorer. Fortunately, in the real world, the pie is not fixed.”
That the fixed pie is a fallacy is clear. New matter cannot be created, but new value can be. Value is created every time two parties make a voluntary exchange. And the market economy is a vast network of trillions upon trillions of value-creating exchanges.
The market economy’s “pie” of value grows with every “win-win” exchange. So, there’s no need for “win-lose” transfers from have-mores to have-lesses.
Historically, the poor have been helped much more by the freedom and opportunity to participate in the market than from wealth transfers (whether in the form of charity or taxation). And the most poverty-alleviating way to use private wealth has not been to give it away, but to invest it in capital goods, which boosts labor productivity and thus lifts up real wages. Just look at the rise of per capita income since the 18th century, which shows “the growing pie” of the market benefited everyone.
The owners of these establishments are free to run their businesses as they like (just as I’m free to take my business elsewhere). But, if they really care about uplifting their workers, they should worry less about corporate virtue-signaling and more about actually improving their business. And if they still have bandwidth to do some good after that, they might work on opposing all the myriad ways—the minimum wage, occupational licensing, etc—that government gets in the way of workers participating in and benefiting from “growing the pie.”
“Most economic fallacies derive from the tendency to assume that there is a fixed pie, that one party can gain only at the expense of another,” Milton Friedman once observed.
The Danger of Focusing on Equity
One of the reasons the fixed pie fallacy persists, no doubt, is this hyperfocus on equity. Some might look at equity surcharges as just a shrewd ploy for restaurants to get more for their workers, but that doesn’t mean they are benign.
Focusing on equity tends to place labor and business at odds, implying that workers are being exploited and deprived of their fair share. This idea—that the employer-employee relationship is inherently exploitative—is grounded in Marxism, and has been effectively refuted by economists. This mindset taps into resentment and class struggle, two pillars of socialism, and teaches people to see the world through the lens of oppression and conflict.
To be sure, in a new twist, restaurants appear to be trying to pass this alleged exploitation onto customers, perhaps to placate disgruntled workers or maybe to tap into social justice currents. But this doesn’t make the ideas less harmful.
Whatever the case, I suspect attempts to make customers pay “equity” chargers will backfire.
Customers like having choices. That’s one of the many beauties of markets. Consumers can choose how we respond to things. If you don’t like Twitter’s aggressive policies on speech, fine; you can go somewhere else. If you don’t care for Chick fil A’s charitable donations, you can eat at Popeye’s. If a car dealership treats you poorly, you can take your business elsewhere.
And if you don’t like your favorite restaurant’s new equity surcharge policy, you can simply exercise the power of exit—and I intend to.
The choice for me was simple: My favorite restaurant added an equity surcharge. What should I do?
I will not be eating at Broders’ again, I’m sad to say. At least not while I’m being slapped with equity charges.
Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. His writing/reporting has been the subject of articles in TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, Fox News, and the Star Tribune.
Bylines: Newsweek, The Washington Times, MSN.com, The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, the Epoch Times.
This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.
Big Pharma’s Five Major Minions that Everyone, Vaxxed or Unvaxxed, Must Oppose
This is not an “anti-vaxxer” article, per se. It’s a call for everyone to wake up to the nefarious motives behind vaccine mandates, booster shots, and condemnation of freedom.
The worst kept secret in world history SHOULD be that the unquenchable push for universal vaccinations against Covid-19 has little if anything to do with healthcare and everything to do with Big Pharma’s influence over the narrative. Unfortunately, that secret has stayed firmly hidden from the vast majority of people because of the five major minions working on behalf of Big Pharma.
What’s even worse is the fact that Big Pharma’s greed is merely a smokescreen to hide an even darker secret. We’ll tackle that later. First, let’s look at the public-facing ringleaders behind the vaccine push, namely Big Pharma. But before we get into their five major minions, it’s important to understand one thing. This is NOT just an article that speaks to the unvaccinated. Even those who believe in the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines must be made aware of agenda that’s at play.
Let’s start with some facts. The unvaccinated do NOT spread Covid-19 more rampantly than the vaccinated. Even Anthony Fauci acknowledged the viral load present in vaccinated people is just as high as in the unvaccinated. This fact alone should demolish the vaccine mandates as it demonstrates they have absolutely no effect on the spread of the disease. But wait! There’s definitely more.
This unhinged push to vaccinate everyone defies science. Those with natural immunity may actually have their stronger defenses against Covid-19 hampered by the introduction of the injections which fool the body into creating less-effective antibodies. Moreover, the push to vaccinate young people is completely bonkers. The recovery rate for those under the age of 20 is astronomical. Children neither contract, spread, nor succumb to Covid-19 in a statistically meaningful way. What they DO succumb to more often than Covid-19 are the adverse reactions to the vaccines, particularly boys.
All of this is known and accepted by the medical community, yet most Americans are still following the vaccinate-everybody script. It requires pure cognitive dissonance and an overabundant need for confirmation bias to make doctors and scientists willingly go along with the program. Yet, here we are and that should tell you something.
Before I get to the five major minions of of Big Pharma, I must make the plea for help. Between cancel culture, lockdowns, and diminishing ad revenue, we need financial assistance in order to continue to spread the truth. We ask all who have the means, please donate through our GivingFuel page or via PayPal. Your generosity is what keeps these sites running and allows us to expand our reach so the truth can get to the masses. We’ve had great success in growing but we know we can do more with your assistance.
Who does Big Pharma control? It starts with the obvious people, the ones who most Americans believe are actually behind this push. Our governments at all levels as well as governments around the world are not working with Big Pharma. They are working for Big Pharma. Some are proactive as direct recipients of cash. Others may oppose Big Pharma in spirit but would never speak out because they know anyone who does has no future in DC.
This may come as a shock to some, but it’s Big Pharma that drives the narrative and sets the agenda for the “experts” at the CDC, FDA, WHO, NIH, NIAID, and even non-medical government organizations.
Most believe it’s the other way around. They think that Big Pharma is beholden to the FDA for approval, but that’s not exactly the case. They need approval for a majority of their projects, but when it comes to the important ones such as the Covid injections, Big Pharma is calling the shots. They have the right people in the right places to push their machinations forward.
That’s not to say that everyone at the FDA is in on it. Big Pharma only needs a handful of friendlies planted in leadership in order to have their big wishes met. We have seen people quitting the FDA in recent weeks for this very reason. The same can be said about the other three- and five-letter agencies. Too many people in leadership have been bribed, bullied, or blackmailed into becoming occasional shills for the various Big Pharma corporations. Some have even been directly planted by Big Pharma. That’s the politics of healthcare and science that drives such things as Covid-19 “vaccines.”