The Biden administration’s plans to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour will only add to the misery of the hospitality industry’s Covid pandemic suffering. The industry has suffered about one in four Covid-related job losses due to the virus and according to a National Restaurant Association survey, more than one in six restaurants in the US closed permanently just in the first six months of the pandemic.
A myopic Joe Biden sees the industry’s misery as an opportunity to pile on. By demanding these struggling businesses increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour he’s delivering even more financial gut punches. A minimum wage hike will have brutally damaging consequences on the local economy, struggling small businesses, and their employees.
Biden incoherently babbles on about a $15 an hour wage lifting people out of poverty. History has proven him wrong, particularly in liberal cities like Seattle, San Francisco and New York where it has been tried and resulted in employees being laid off and restaurants closing. A study conducted by the restaurant workplace management platform Harri found that to pay for the pay hikes, restaurants raised menu prices, cut worker hours, cut jobs, or in some instances even closed their restaurants down.
Young and inexperienced workers have been priced out of fast-food or other low-wage industry jobs by the higher minimum wage while at the same time, higher minimum wages help turn cashier, dishwasher, and janitorial workers into the long-term unemployed unable to move up a career ladder. The people that need jobs the most, are being ousted as employers retain and hire skilled workers rather than untrained, unskilled workers as both must be paid the higher minimum wage.
A clueless Biden claims that this is part of the COVID-19 recovery effort, but it will have the reverse effect. Local restaurateurs and those in the hotel, resort, and B&B businesses hereabouts agree, it won’t help, just the opposite.
Republican-led and hospitality-heavy Florida is suffering due to the pandemic but not as much as those states with Democrats in charge.
Despite Florida Governor Ron DeSantis allowing businesses to keep their doors open Nassau County’s hospitality and leisure industry has still been impacted by the fall-off in travel and because folks are afraid to go out. Amelia Island was initially hammered hard with some 3,000 employees being laid off early last year as several eateries and resorts curtailed their hours and others closed their doors for good. Governor DeSantis’s policies have helped many reopen, hire back employees, and hang on despite the virus.
I’ve talked to many local restaurant and bar owners as well as those in hotel management and they say the wage increase will have a devasting impact on their businesses and local employees. These aren’t miserly Scrooge type humbuggers, but your neighbors – local business owners and managers working hard to find ways to keep their doors open and keep employees on the payroll.
The federal minimum wage will have a severe negative impact on the folks that Democrats say they champion – the lowest paid, minorities, and those less educated. The smallest of the small businesses with two to five employees will probably stay put but not do any additional hiring, while those with more employees will likely lay some off, cut back on hours, stop hiring and raise prices. Businesses aren’t going to hire or retain employees who in their opinion aren’t worth $15 an hour. To keep their doors open they have no choice but to hire the smartest and most efficient and weed out those who can’t hack it and raise prices to pay the federally mandated wage.
The Biden administration will attempt to combat the efforts of these businesses to operate more economically and efficiently because in the Biden administration’s view there are no standards of excellence. If you’re black, Latino, an illegal immigrant, female, or any of the various sub-groups of the sexually bewildered, you’re supposed to be hired first, fired last, and your competence doesn’t matter in the least. Just look at Biden’s cabinet.
Despite Florida’s top-heavy reliance on the tourist industry, employment here fell only 4.6 percent as a result of the pandemic’s curtailed traffic and because Governor DeSantis kept the state open. Think how far in the tank we’d be if Governor DeSantis’s Democrat opponent, Andrew Gillum, had been elected? Think New York, California, Illinois, etc.
Despite the pandemic employment increased in Republican-led states last month including Texas (64,200), Georgia (44,700), and South Carolina (14,600). Democrat-led states suffered the most job losses including (Michigan -64,000), California (-53,300), Minnesota (-49,800), Pennsylvania (-37,600), and New York (-37,600). Nearly all the job losses were in leisure and hospitality. Despite their shut down rules these states – says the Wall Street Journal – didn’t control the virus any better than states that allowed business to operate with social distancing, and in most cases it was worse.
So along comes a misguided, doddering, ‘ole Joe to add a federal mandated minimum wage of $15 on top of the industry’s misery. Watch what happens?
One of Amelia Island’s local hotel managers told me that that if the $15 minimum is enacted he’ll have no choice but to lay off marginal and low wage employees, cut hours of others, and raise room and food prices.
Restauranteur Chet Huntly who runs the newly opened South 3rd Street and Ash Boat House across from city hall, is one of many local restauranteurs who said he’d also have to cut hours and possibly eliminate jobs for some employees.
“It will do several things to the business as well as impact employees,” he said. “I’ll most likely be cutting hours back. When costs go up so do prices,” said Huntley who has been in the hospitality business for many years, most of them running a high-end string of Atlanta eateries before moving here. “Our margins are thin and there only a few costs we can control – labor and what we purchase. Insurance, workman’s comp, rent, and utilities are among those that are out of our control.”
Mr. Huntley echoed what several other local restaurant owners told me, saying that rather than using hostesses and food runners he may have to take a look at fewer employees working the door and running food. He also said he wants to feature local seafood and food from other US regions, but when labor costs are forced upward he may have to look at less expensive Southeast Asian products. “We can only raise prices so high before they become unsustainable,” he explains.
“Our margins are thin, just 12-15 cents on the dollar,” he said. “So, we have to squeeze what we can out of the menu and keep it attractive and do it during a time when people are already scared to come out. Whenever possible we try to pass any savings on to customers who are also feeling the financial effects of this pandemic economy. Federally mandated wage increases don’t help anybody – us, our employees, or our customers, particularly during the pandemic. Just the opposite.”
Currently, the federal minimum wage is $7.25, while the minimum 2021 minimum wage in Florida is $8.65 per hour effective January 1, 2021, with a minimum wage of at least $5.63 per hours for tipped employees.
Some states do not have their own minimum wages and simply follow the federal one, while others, such as California, have a minimum wage as high as $14 an hour.
Biden also would like to get rid of tip credits, which allow restaurant owners to pay below minimum wage to waiters and waitresses who make more than that amount per hour with tip included. If the government can’t regulate it they don’t like it.
Meanwhile Biden’s oblivious to all the financial pain and misery he is causing as his puppet masters drag him into a back room, hand him another Executive Order, and he shuffles out to sign it while reading from cue cards and mumbling unintelligibly for the TV cameras.
Local Blockheads: Censorship and discrimination aren’t restricted only to the Biden suck up fascists running Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Google. The popular local conservative organization “We the People” group, chaired by national author, motivational speaker, and island resident, Deb Boelkes, has been discouraged from meeting at one island location and was told the group isn’t welcome at two others.
One of these south end facilities raised their prices for her event exorbitantly and even requested that Ms. Boelkes submit a list of attendee’s names before they’d agree to host the group. She rightly refused. Management of a north end facility with a private room for such gatherings refused but couldn’t articulate why. The owner is being contacted to see if he can shed light on his myopic management employee’s turndown. The third, a south end restaurant, made a series of lame excuses, before finally admitting they didn’t want publicity that would identify them as a site for the group’s meeting. Really? These facilities are nervous about being identified as sites that host a group of polite, well-mannered, articulate, free-spending area residents who gather to hear speakers that include 4th District Congressman John Rutherford (R); State Representative Cord Byrd and State Senator Aaron Bean; Common Sense founder Jack Knocke; state educators and US diplomats; nationally respected resident authors Neal Freeman and Ken Timmerman; former and current Nassau County Supervisors of Elections, Vicki Cannon and Janet Adkins respectively; Governor Ron DeSantis, and more such folks? This past Monday at the Florida House attendees heard from Ms. Lindsay Hoyt, founder of the Jacksonville’s Cornerstone Classical Academy, a highly successful free charter school, accommodating children grades K-6. These sessions are about as controversial as granny’s quilting bee.
“We the People is an organization with more than 700 local members with a mission to rebuild traditional American values; encourage critical thinking; foster respectful, healthy dialog on matters of importance to our community, state and nation; and motivate citizens to vote,” explains Ms. Boelkes.
The group doesn’t expect or request anything free and generously purchases food and beverages. It’s not exactly a rowdy crowd of drunks that participates in barroom brawls attacking each other with broken beer bottles and profane language while abusing the womenfolk.
I know most of the people that attend these sessions, and the blackballing facilities are leaving a bad taste in the mouths of a large crowd of affluent and influential local residents who will spread the word. I had Valentine’s Day reservations for four at one of these blackballing restaurants that I have now cancelled. When it comes to writing about locally owned restaurants I try never to be negative as many are struggling to survive the pandemic and a clueless Democrat administration to stay afloat. But I’m tempted to make an exception with these three twits.
Hats off to The Florida House and Shuckers, two popular eateries that eagerly and enthusiastically provide accommodations to “We the People.” Many attendees whose first visit to these establishments was at a “We the People” meeting frequently return to the two facilities to enjoy their exceptional food, cocktails, ambience, and friendliness.
The next “We the People” session will be held at the Florida House Monday, March 1, 5-7 pm featuring former Nassau County Economic Development Director Laura DiBella, who currently serves as executive director of the Florida Harbor Pilots Association. There’s a $20 cover charge that includes heavy appetizers. There’s a cash bar. Bring an appetite as last time the appetizers included bacon wrapped shrimp, marinated chicken skewers, fried green tomatoes, crab cakes, deviled eggs, a wide variety of fresh fruit and more. Bartenders Ryan and Jennie are fun, fast, and efficient. Maximum capacity is 55 so if you plan to attend contact Deb at deb.boelkes@BWEising.com or 904/310-9602.These sessions fill up quickly.
Congressman Rutherford is tentatively scheduled to speak to the group April 5 at Shuckers, 5-7 p.m.
Oops! It seems that Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter are so busy kicking Donald Trump and other conservatives offline that they have allowed child porn sites to keep on going. Well, we have our priorities and they have theirs.
Speaking Of Kids: Teachers unions – which consider kids a nuisance – are demanding that their teacher members be bumped ahead of the elderly, the infirm, nurses and first responders to receive the Covid vaccine even though many teacher unionists refuse to enter a classroom in many states. The damage teachers unions are doing to an entire generation of kids, and especially minority kids is irretrievable now, and is worse than anything terrorists could ever hope to do. These blockheads should be facing child abuse charges for what they’re doing to America’s children. Not to be outdone, the Biden administration attempted to top their affluent teachers union donator’s ineptitude and contemptuousness, demanding the terrorists at Guantanamo Bay – that were responsible for 9-11 – should be first in line to be vaccinated. That order was rescinded only after the embarrassing news leaked out. Folks, these are just two examples of the hell America is facing the next four years.
Suggested Super Bowl Halftime Topics: Two of America’s top-performing professional athletes never won a championship. One played in one and lost while the other never even played on a championship team.
Boston Red Sox legend Ted Williams, the last baseball player to hit .400 (.406 in 1941 with an astounding .553 OBP) and in my opinion the best hitter in baseball ever, never played in a World Series. Legendary Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino, who still holds numerous NFL records for a quarterback, played in only one Super Bowl (XIX) but lost to the 49ers in 1985. I’m fortunate that I saw both of these stellar athletes perform.
Even though these two amazing athletes never played on a championship team they certainly weren’t losers, far from it.
My all-time favorite dud team wasn’t the hapless New York Mets, the lovable losers of 1962 whose 120 losses remains a record in MLB, or the wretched 0-14 Tampa Bay Buccaneers of 1976. Nope, for me the 1964 Philadelphia Phillies hold that dubious honor. And they’re anything but loveable.
This “Dewey Defeats Truman” sports team, which led the National League by 6½ games on September 20, was a cinch to play in the World Series for the first time in almost 50 years and confidently sold 90,000 postseason tickets to their adoring fans. They then proceeded to lose 10 straight games and watch as the St. Louis Cardinals won the National League pennant by one game and went on to defeat the NY Yankees in the World Series.
It wasn’t the number of games the Phillies lost, but the way they lost that earned them the distinction of legendary lamentable losers and it left a long-lingering bitterness among Philly fans. It was soon after that traumatic ’64 season that Philadelphia residents earned a well-deserved reputation as the nastiest sports fans in America, booing Santa Claus and even kids who failed to find Easter eggs during breaks in games. Philadelphia’s Old Veterans Stadium even had a court room and a jail because its fans were so rowdy.
Speaking Of Sports: The spineless Cleveland Indians and Washington Redskins have curtsied to political correctness and changed their team’s names. Soon the Atlanta Braves and the Kansas City Chiefs will cave to the will of these self-righteous, cancel culture pinheads.
So, “why,” asks west coast columnist Burt Prelutsky, “isn’t anybody calling for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to clean up their racially insensitive act?”
He adds that the NAACP could solve the problem very easily, even retaining the “C” by merely changing Colored to Communist.
Wait! What? “Black Lives Matter (BLM) nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize” is a story that the annual satirical newspaper Amelia Island News Wrecker wouldn’t print as it would be too outrageously unbelievable, even for that publication which holds nothing sacred.
Apparently it’s true, as a whack job from the Norwegian socialist left party, Petter Eide, who nominated these thugs, thinks the anarchist terror organization that loots businesses, beats and shoots onlookers, and torches government buildings, is an agent for good.
How many BLM rioters are roaming the streets of Mr. Eide’s Norway terrorizing his former warrior Vikings turned worried wusses? Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin, who combined to slaughter 40 million people were both nominated for this worthless award. I’m surprised they haven’t posthumously bestowed this Nobel Peace “honor” on Osama bin Laden and ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Alfred Nobel, the Swedish inventor of dynamite, who was branded “The Angel of Death” by the media, created the Peace Prize to make people forget his explosive past. But for many years the nitwits that run this phony baloney peace prize organization have blown up the inventor’s name. For example, Palestinian mass murderer and terrorist Yasser Arafat was given the award for reasons nobody can remember or understand. Do-nothing sermonizer Barack Obama was handed one a few days after he was elected US President, and even he admitted he didn’t know why. Rumpled, overweight and exceedingly unattractive radical leftist Stacy Abrams, who thinks she is the governor of Georgia, was also nominated. I hear others up for the prize this year are Jeffrey Dahmer and Charles Manson.